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Independence Blue Cross Foundation partners with Penn State University to address the stigma of opioid addiction

By November 28, 2017December 1st, 2017Community Health News
Independence Blue Cross Foundation partners with Penn State University to address the stigma of opioid addition

From left to right: Independence president and CEO Dan Hilferty, Gov. Tom Wolf, Caron Treatment Center president and CEO Doug Tieman, and IBC Foundation president Lorina Marshall-Blake
New campaign announced at a joint event with PA Gov. Wolf addressing the opioid epidemic

Philadelphia, PA — At an opioid crisis update event hosted at Independence Blue Cross (Independence) with Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf, Independence president and CEO Daniel J. Hilferty announced a new initiative to fight the stigma of addiction. The initiative pairs the Independence Blue Cross Foundation with the Justice Center for Research at Penn State University for a multi-media public awareness campaign to share stories of addiction and recovery to reduce the shame often associated with opioid abuse. The initiative will support the development and launch of a campaign to tell real stories of recovery, giving a face and voice to those affected by the crisis. The campaign will also explore the effect of substance abuse on individuals, families and the community.

Gov. Wolf, Hilferty, and Doug Tieman, president and CEO of Caron Treatment Centers, provided updates on what is being done to fight this crisis on various fronts. Almost 1,700 people in southeastern Pennsylvania died in 2016 from an opioid overdose. Philadelphia alone is on track for 1,200 overdose deaths this year, 300 more than last year.

“The story of the opiate crisis in the Philadelphia region, much like the rest of the country, continues to be told through staggering statistics like these,’ said Hilferty. “However, these numbers fail to capture the devastating effect of opiate addiction on individuals, family members, employers, and communities. Through this project, we hope those suffering from addiction will feel more empowered to ask for help.”

Glenn Sterner, a Post-Doctoral Scholar in the Justice Center for Research at Penn State University, will lead a team of Penn State University researchers and Independence Blue Cross Foundation professionals in this project to collect, chronicle, and share individual narratives about the opiate crisis in southeastern Pennsylvania.  The stories will later be shared at community gatherings, along with in-depth discussions about the stigma associated with opioid addiction.  Local resources will be provided for those seeking treatment.

Last year, the Independence Blue Cross Foundation launched STOP (Supporting Treatment and Overdose Prevention). an initiative to increase awareness and access to effective community-based opioid treatment and prevention.

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: Supporting private, nonprofit community health center clinics that provide access to quality, affordable health care in medically underserved areas.
  • Bolstering the Health Care Workforce: Strengthening the nursing, primary care, and allied health workforce through education, career development, and research.
  • Addressing Health Priorities: Collaborating with wellness partners to tackle the region’s most pressing health challenges; currently combating the obesity epidemic through the IBC Foundation Healthy Futures Initiative.
  • Building healthy communities: Partnering with community leaders and programs to address community health and wellness needs.

Learn more by visiting our website: Connect with the Independence Blue Cross Foundation on Twitter at @ibxfdn.


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: Connect with the Independence Blue Cross Foundation on LinkedIn.

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