The Philadelphia Tribune and Independence Blue Cross launch Our Community. Our Health.

Image of Campaign Ambassador Sharmain Matlock-Turner

Campaign Ambassador Sharmain Matlock-Turner, President & CEO, Urban Affairs Coalition

Public health awareness campaign addresses disproportionate rates of diabetes, obesity, and heart disease impacting the African American community

PHILADELPHIA, PA – November 18, 2020 – Independence Blue Cross (Independence) and The Philadelphia Tribune, today announced Our Community. Our Health., a public health awareness campaign focused on combatting the disproportionate rates of diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular disease impacting the African American community. The campaign aims to create a sense of urgency around this dire problem and educate people about achievable ways to improve their health or the health of someone they love.

Recognizing that nutrition — along with other healthy habits — plays a critical role in overall health and can effectively help prevent and manage chronic conditions, the campaign will provide information about the impacts of diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular disease and provide access to health and nutrition experts who can help the community address these conditions. Free health and nutrition screenings and services, such as healthy lifestyle counseling, will be provided.

Data from organizations like the American Diabetes Association and American Heart Association show that African Americans face alarming rates of these three chronic health problems. These illnesses not only diminish quality of life, but also often cut lives short, contributing to a nearly four-year gap in life expectancy between African Americans and their white counterparts, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Exacerbating these already difficult circumstances is the COVID-19 pandemic, which has made clear the disparities in health care. Long-standing systemic health and social inequities cause African Americans to be at increased risk of getting sick and dying from COVID-19. In Philadelphia, African Americans have accounted for nearly 60% of COVID-19 hospitalizations according to the Philadelphia Department of Public Health.

Community. Our Health. aims to raise public awareness about the health risks of these chronic conditions through a robust grassroots effort led by respected community ambassadors who will educate and advocate for change.

We are sincerely grateful to the many community leaders for their personal commitment to engage and inform our community about these deadly health risks,” said Robert W. Bogle, President and CEO of The Philadelphia Tribune. “By lending their voices and support for this campaign, we are able to reach people where they live, work, worship, and play, and to help save lives.”

“We are deeply concerned about the chronic health conditions that are seriously hurting the African American community. Everyone deserves to enjoy good health,” said Independence President and CEO Daniel J. Hilferty. “We are proud to partner with The Philadelphia Tribune, which is such a bedrock of the community in Philadelphia, on this important effort.”

“Especially during this pandemic, it is crucial that we come together and take extensive measures to save lives and create a healthy future for generations to come,” said Gregory E. Deavens, Independence EVP, Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer.  “We hope this campaign will show people that change is within their grasp, and that better health is possible.”

About Independence Blue Cross
Independence Blue Cross is the leading health insurance organization in southeastern Pennsylvania. With our affiliates, we serve more than eight million people nationwide. For more than 80 years, we have been enhancing the health and well-being of the people and communities we serve. We deliver innovative and competitively priced health care products and services; pioneer new ways to reward doctors, hospitals, and other health care professionals for coordinated, quality care; and support programs and events that promote wellness. To learn more, visit www.ibx.com. Connect with us on Facebook at facebook.com/ibx and on Twitter at @ibx. Independence Blue Cross is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.

About The Philadelphia Tribune
The Philadelphia Tribune is the oldest continuously published African American Newspaper in the United States. Throughout its history, The Philadelphia Tribune has been committed to the social, political, and economic advancement of African Americans in the Greater Philadelphia region.

Media contact:
Ruth Stoolman
Ruth.stoolman@ibx.com
215.667.9537 (cell)