Funding increased access to care, supported nursing education, helped build healthier communities, and reduced childhood obesity
Philadelphia, PA – January 30, 2015 – The Independence Blue Cross Foundation (Foundation) announced that it awarded 125 grants in southeastern Pennsylvania during 2014 totaling $5.4 million. The grants targeted four primary areas: increasing access to quality, affordable care in medically underserved areas; bolstering the health care workforce; improving child wellness; and building healthier communities.
“Three years after launching our Foundation, we are very encouraged by how our support has benefitted our community, by helping local health centers provide affordable and high-quality care to our region’s most vulnerable people, and providing scholarships to nursing students to ensure we have a solid pipeline of qualified nurses, nurse educators, and leaders,” said Lorina Marshall-Blake, president of the Independence Blue Cross Foundation. “Our success is largely due to the strong partnerships we’ve built with leading health organizations like the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), National League for Nursing, and many more. We are proud of these exceptional relationships and together will continue to improve the health of our community, making it a better place to live and work.”
Increasing access to quality, affordable care in medically underserved areas
Through the Blue Safety Net program, the Foundation funds private, nonprofit community health centers that provide access to quality care in medically underserved areas. In 2014, the Foundation provided nearly $2.7 million in funding to 42 health centers that served more than 200,000 individuals. Patient visits at these funded health centers exceeded 580,000 in 2014. Health centers are often the only source of health care for the region’s most vulnerable populations.
Bolstering the health care workforce
In 2014, the Foundation awarded $1.3 million in Nurses for Tomorrow nursing scholarship grants to 22 area nursing programs in support of more than 425 undergraduate, graduate, and Ph.D. nursing students. The Foundation’s Nurses for Tomorrow program focuses on advancing the nursing workforce through education, career development, and research. The Foundation also provided summer internships for 18 undergraduate nursing students who spent 10 weeks at Foundation-supported community health centers or at Independence Blue Cross.
The Foundation also announced its first three Foundation Nurse Fellows from the Villanova University College of Nursing and University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing. These Ph.D. nursing students are participating in the $20 million Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Future of Nursing Scholars program, which aims to increase the number of Ph.D.-prepared nurses in the United States. The Independence Blue Cross Foundation is a founding funder of the Future of Nursing Scholars program, investing $450,000 to support six Ph.D. nursing students over the next three years.
In 2014, the Foundation invested nearly $1 million in The Healthy Futures Initiative, a groundbreaking child wellness initiative in 25 elementary schools throughout southeastern Pennsylvania. The three-year $3 million program and research study is a comprehensive, collaborative approach to childhood health and wellness that partners with regionally and nationally known health leaders such as CHOP, the Vetri and Garces Foundations, Greener Partners, and major sports teams including the Philadelphia Union and Philadelphia Freedoms. Healthy Future’s Eat Right, Get Fit, and Stay Well components help children lay the groundwork for a lifetime of healthy habits.
In October 2014, the Foundation and CHOP convened “Healthy Futures: A Recipe for Childhood Wellness,” a national conference focused on childhood wellness and obesity prevention. National leaders in children’s health — experts in research, health policy, and community health and wellness — challenged attendees to examine comprehensive, effective, and scalable solutions to ensure healthy beginnings for children. In addition, researchers from Drexel University Department of Nutrition Sciences presented preliminary findings from the Foundation’s Healthy Futures study.
Building Healthier Communities
Through its Building Healthier Communities grant program, the Foundation partners with nonprofit community organizations that focus on helping residents improve their health. In 2014, the Foundation nearly doubled the number of organizations funded under this program and increased the total amount of funds awarded by 32 percent. Through Building Healthier Communities, the Foundation provided $460,000 in funding to 28 community organizations targeting youth, seniors, and veterans, among other groups. Funded programs addressed behavioral health, active lifestyles, healthy eating and education, food distribution, and housing, as well as disease prevention, to name just a few areas of effort.
About the Independence Blue Cross Foundation:
The Independence Blue Cross Foundation is a charitable, private foundation, whose mission is leading solutions for a healthier community. The Foundation targets the following areas of impact:
- Securing the Blue Safety Net:Achieving sustainability of the regional safety net by building capacity in health centers.
- Bolstering the Health Care Workforce:Advancing the education and professional development of nurses and nurse leaders.
- Addressing Health Priorities:Addressing national health trends locally through community-driven research.
- Building Healthy Communities:Driving wellness by targeting specific and diverse community health needs.
Independence Blue Cross