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Independence celebrates 15 years of Healthy Hoops

Hundreds of children and parents celebrated the 15th anniversary of the Healthy Hoops program at Universal Audenried Charter School on Saturday, September 9. Healthy Hoops is a community-based, chronic disease intervention program that combines hands-on asthma education and health screenings with basketball clinics led by experienced coaches.

Healthy Hoops was launched in 2002 by AmeriHealth Caritas, which is now part of the Independence Health Group in partnership with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. The program set out to address increased asthma diagnoses among children, and a spike in asthma-related emergency room visits and hospitalizations in the Philadelphia area. AmeriHealth Caritas took the program national, and now hosts events in Kentucky, South Carolina, Indiana, Michigan, Florida, Louisiana, Georgia, and Pennsylvania.

In addition to the health screenings and basketball clinic, activities at the celebration included children’s yoga, story time and a health education workshop, along with a performance by health educator and motivational rap artist Sterlen Barr. A special reception recognized individuals instrumental in founding Healthy Hoops, including Independence Blue Cross President and CEO Daniel J. Hilferty, as well as Sonny Hill, Speedy Morris, Jim Murray, Maureen George, and the late Jim “Bo” Boyle.