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In Focus

IBX Foundation executive director Heather Major joins the National Governor’s Association meeting to discuss health equity initiatives

Speaking on a panel - Johnson & Johnson Medical Executive of Health Systems Integration Dr. JaBaris Swain; Heather Major, Executive Director of the IBX Foundation; Secretary of Policy and Planning for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Akbar Hossain; and NGA Program Director Marianne Gibson.

Pictured left to right: Johnson & Johnson Medical Executive of Health Systems Integration Dr. JaBaris Swain; Heather Major, Executive Director of the IBX Foundation; Secretary of Policy and Planning for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Akbar Hossain; and NGA Program Director Marianne Gibson.

On June 7, the National Governor’s Association (NGA) held its 2024 Policy Summit convening Governors’ Deputy Chiefs of Staff, Legislative Directors and Policy Directors. Heather Major, executive director of the Independence Blue Cross (IBX) Foundation, was invited by the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBSA), an NGA partner, to participate in a panel discussion on health equity. Heather highlighted BCBSA’s efforts to improve access to healthcare across underserved areas and blue plan partnerships with states to advance health equity. She also spoke about the work of the IBX Foundation and the IBX Foundation Institute for Health Equity (Institute), with a specific focus on the health care workforce.

As the first executive director of the IBX Foundation, Major directs the strategic direction, programmatic, and operational activities of both the IBX Foundation and Institute, including $10 million annually in nonprofit funding and research.

The panel also featured First Lady of Pennsylvania Lori Shapiro; Secretary of Policy and Planning for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Akbar Hossain; Johnson & Johnson Medical Executive of Health Systems Integration Dr. JaBaris Swain, and was moderated by NGA Program Director Marianne Gibson. Each individual offered a distinct dialogue about health equity strategies, including First Lady Shapiro’s advocacy for menstrual equity and community engagement efforts, Secretary Hossain’s emphasis on corporate and community partnerships, and Dr. Swain’s work with the upcoming “My Health Can’t Wait” event in Philadelphia.

BCBSA’s National Health Equity Strategy, launched in April 2021, focuses on improving access and affordability, addressing social drivers of health, building an equitable healthcare workforce, and standardizing health equity data. The strategy aims to reduce racial inequities in healthcare by leveraging BCBSA’s extensive network and resources.

Independence Blue Cross Foundation Team

The Independence Blue Cross Foundation is leading a future for equitable health in our communities and nation. The IBX 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 IBX Foundation’s most important stakeholder – the community – has been at the center of the work. By the end of 2023, the IBX 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.