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Independence Blue Cross Leaders to speak at 2021 B. PHL Innovation Festival

Independence Blue Cross (Independence) today announced that several of its leaders will speak at the upcoming B. PHL Innovation Festival, which will be held Sept. 29 through Oct. 1. As the leading festival partner, Independence is committed to B. PHL’s theme of “Rising Through Collaboration.”

Independence aims to inspire festival attendees through a variety of sessions, available to a limited audience in-person at Location 215 and streamed virtually at, including:

Driving Racial Equity in the Workplace Forward
Sept. 29, 10:15 to 11 a.m. | Streamed Virtually
To kick off the 2021 B. PHL Innovation Festival, Independence Health Group President and Chief Executive Officer Greg Deavens and Merck Executive Chairman and former CEO Ken Frazier will share their personal and professional experiences as two of the nation’s leading Black executives on rising to the CEO rank. In a discussion moderated by Crystal Ashby, executive vice president and chief people officer at Independence, Frazier and Deavens will discuss strategies to build diverse talent pipelines and bridge the wealth gap in communities of color, as well as highlight creative collaborations that aim to provide lasting impact on racial equity in the workplace.

The Healthcare Revolution Will Be Televised: Patient Engagement with Quil
Sept. 29, 11:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. | In-Person at Location 215 and Streamed Virtually
Brian Lobley, executive vice president, chief operating officer and president of Health Markets at Independence, will join Don Mathis, general manager of Growth at Comcast NBCUniversal, and Roy Schwartz, vice president, Managed Care and Payer Relations at Penn Medicine, to discuss Quil, a joint venture between Comcast NBCUniversal and Independence. Moderated by Quil’s Chief Executive Officer Carina Edwards, the panel will explore the rise of consumerism in healthcare and how it can drive better patient outcomes as well as transform telehealth into digital health to increase patient and caregiver engagement.

Future Focus: Achieving Health Equity in Philadelphia
Sept. 29, 6 to 6:45 p.m. | In-Person at Location 215 and Streamed Virtually
Dr. Seun Ross, executive director of Health Equity at Independence, will moderate a discussion featuring Sandra E. Brooks, M.D., MBA, EVP, Chief Community Health Equity Officer at Jefferson Health, and Rev. Luis Cortés, founder, president, and CEO of Esperanza, about what situations like the pandemic have taught us about the wide disparities in health outcomes we are seeing today among African American and underserved populations. The group will also discuss the innovative strategies and collaboration needed to help provide greater access to quality healthcare for all.

Building an Inclusive Workplace through Kindness and Connection
Sept. 30, 4:45 to 5:30 p.m. | Streamed Virtually
Independence’s Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer Juan Lopez will join Lisette Martinez, chief diversity officer and executive vice president at Jefferson Health and Thomas Jefferson University, in a fireside chat on the importance of a strong workplace culture to bridge the gaps among employees and support them as they navigate the transition back to the workplace. Lopez and Martinez will offer best practices for strengthening an inclusive workplace built around respect and understanding and the power of bringing compassion and connection to the workplace and to life.

Collaborating for Change: Addressing Racial Disparities in Addiction Treatment
Sept. 30, 4:45 to 5:30 p.m. | In-Person at Location 215 and Streamed Virtually
Reverend Dr. Lorina Marshall-Blake, president of the Independence Blue Cross Foundation and vice president of Community Affairs at Independence, will moderate a conversation with Doug Tiemen, former CEO and special advisor to the current CEO of Caron Treatment Centers, David Rotenberg, executive vice president and chief clinical officer of Caron Treatment Centers, and Mel Wells, CEO of One Day At A Time, about racial disparities in addiction treatment and recovery support. The panel will examine the disparities African American patients and families face when receiving treatment for substance abuse disorders, as well as the vision behind the Black Patient Scholarship Fund. Speakers will also highlight notable efforts to combat these issues through collaboration.

Clinical Care Innovation at Independence
Oct. 1, 9 to 9:45 a.m. | Streamed Virtually
Rich Snyder, M.D., EVP Facilitated Health, and Chief Medical Officer, will join Rodrigo Cerda, M.D., VP Clinical Care Transformation in a virtual panel discussion exploring the role of innovation in clinical care. Moderated by Patrick Dudley, Director Clinical Care Innovation, the panel will highlight Independence’s commitment to advancing care, leveraging technology, and developing new approaches that benefit our members and providers while also realizing cost savings.

Taking a Stand: A City-Wide Effort to End Racism
Oct. 1, 11:30 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. | In-Person at Location 215 and Streamed Virtually
Steve Fera, executive vice president, Public Affairs at Independence, will join Arun Prabhakaran, executive vice president of the Urban Affairs Coalition, to discuss the Ending Racism Partnership, a city-wide collaboration of residents, leaders and influencers aimed at ending racism and inequality in Philadelphia. Fera and Prabhakaran will discuss lessons learned through continued community discussions on ending racial inequality in Philadelphia.

Civility in Politics
Oct. 1, 1 to 1:45 p.m. | In-Person at Location 215 and Streamed Virtually
Steve Fera, executive vice president, Public Affairs at Independence, will moderate a panel on partisanship in American politics. He will be joined by Representative Joanna McClinton, Pennsylvania House Democratic Leader and former United States Representative Charlie Dent. Together, the panelists will discuss Pennsylvania’s instances of political gridlock, how the country got to this level of partisanship, solutions to move toward working across the political aisle and how this impacts constituents.

Independence has supported B. PHL since its inception in 2019 and is aligned with the festival’s commitment to foster innovation and attract the best talent to live, work and play in Philadelphia. In addition to these sessions, B. PHL attendees will have access to panels, podcast recordings, live entertainment and other interactive experiences across healthcare, science, engineering, education, the arts and more. Attendees can register for a free, virtual ticket at There will also be a limited number of in-person tickets available.

Media Contact
Diana Quattrone
215-815-7828 (cell)