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In Focus

Collaborative model expands to address disparities in the physician workforce

Logos: Independence Blue Cross Foundation and Institute for Health Equity

Independence Blue Cross Foundation Institute for Health Equity grant expands Penn Medicine and CHOP’s Alliance of Minority Physicians

The Independence Blue Cross Foundation announced a grant award through its Institute for Health Equity to the University of Pennsylvania Health System (UPHS) and the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP)’s Alliance of Minority Physicians (AMP).

The diversity of the healthcare workforce is lagging in comparison to the changing demographics of populations. This lack of representation has been a key driver in health disparities in the U.S., reinforcing the urgent need for a healthcare workforce that better reflects the population and is more culturally responsive. AMP’s model aims to improve diversity in medicine through active recruitment, retention, mentorship, and engagement, and this grant helps to further those efforts citywide.

“The expansion of the UPHS-CHOP Alliance for Minority Physicians model is one of the ways we are committed to address equity in medicine through the IBC Foundation Institute for Health Equity,” said Lorina Marshall-Blake, President of the Independence Blue Cross Foundation. “With one out of every six U.S. doctors trained in Philadelphia, scaling this model better addresses disparities in the physician workforce.”

AMP was founded in 2012 by faculty of UPHS and CHOP to “recruit, retain, and reaffirm” students who are underrepresented in medicine (URiM). Since its founding in 2012, AMP’s efforts helped to triple the number of URiM residents and fellows in UPHS and CHOP training programs.

“We are thankful for this grant provided by the Independence Blue Cross Foundation Institute for Heath Equity. This funding helps catalyze the UPHS-CHOP Alliance of Minority Physicians’ efforts in engaging students underrepresented in medicine to support the diversity of medical students throughout the region – with a goal that all students realize their full potential as future physicians and leaders,” said Dr. Iris Reyes, a Professor of Clinical Emergency Medicine in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and founder and faculty advisor for AMP. “Through this new AMP initiative, we are seeking to utilize evidence-based principles and the groundwork of a decade of experience to engage Philadelphia’s medical students in envisioning what their career can look like. We are looking forward to supporting them as they blaze the path toward realizing their potential as future clinical and physician scientists across all specialties.”

“We are seeing a worrisome lag in the pipeline for pediatricians from diverse backgrounds who can care for our nation’s children,” said Gilbert Davis, Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. “This grant will help us broaden initiatives to inspire medical students from traditionally underrepresented populations in medicine backgrounds to choose pediatrics as their specialty. It’s very important that our patients see clinicians who look like them, and who can be their role models and care providers.”

Independence Blue Cross Foundation Team

The Independence Blue Cross Foundation is leading a future for equitable health in our communities and nation. The IBC Foundation’s grant programs and the Independence Blue Cross Foundation Institute for Health Equity are advancing three areas of impact: Access to Care, the Healthcare Workforce, and Health Equity. Since inception the IBC Foundation’s most important stakeholder – the community – has been at the center of the work. By the end of 2023, the IBC Foundation will have awarded grants totaling more than $80 million to support nonprofits and research improving the health and well-being of communities in southeastern Pennsylvania.

Learn more by visiting our website: ibxfoundation.org. Connect with the Independence Blue Cross Foundation on LinkedIn.

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