PHILADELPHIA, Feb. 11, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The Independence Blue Cross Foundation (Foundation) awarded more than 130 grants in southeastern Pennsylvania during 2015 totaling $6.2 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.
“We’re very excited and proud of our commitment to improving the health and bettering the lives of tens of thousands of people in our community,” said Lorina Marshall-Blake, president of the Independence Blue Cross Foundation. “In addition to our funding, we strengthened our community partnerships and believe our success in connecting organizations with similar goals is another way we are able to lead solutions that improve the health and wellness of our neighborhoods.”
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 2015, the Foundation awarded more than $3 million in grant funding to 44 health centers that served nearly 200,000 individuals. Patient visits at these funded health centers exceeded 600,000 in 2015. Health centers are often the only source of health care for the region’s most vulnerable populations. The $3 million in grant awards includes $520,000 in targeted funding to build health center capacity, including support for several innovative pilots in telemedicine, mobile dental, and trauma-informed care.
Bolstering the health care workforce
In 2015, the Foundation awarded over $1.7 million in Nurses for Tomorrow nursing scholarship grants to 22 area nursing schools to support undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral nursing students, including six nursing fellows participating in the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Future of Nursing Scholars program. The Foundation’s Nurses for Tomorrow program focuses on advancing the nursing workforce through education, career development, and research. Through Nurses for Tomorrow, the Foundation also provided a ten-week summer internship program to 24 undergraduate nursing students who explored nursing in a community health setting, or in healthcare administration.
In 2015, the Foundation and the National League for Nursing cohosted a national conference, Paradigms in Nursing Leadership, with more than 500 nurses and health care leaders. The one- day conference focused on advancing the role of nurses in today’s fast-changing healthcare environment, growing their executive leadership presence, and applying leadership to improve patient care.
Addressing health priorities
In 2015, the Foundation invested nearly $960,000 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 that began in late 2013 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.
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 2015, the Foundation provided more than $540,000 in funding to 39 community organizations targeting youth, seniors, and veterans, among other groups. Funded programs addressed behavioral health, food distribution, and housing, as well as disease prevention, to name a few areas of support.
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 healthcare 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 childhood obesity epidemic through the IBC Foundation Healthy Futures Initiative.
- Building Healthier Communities: Partnering with community leaders and programs to address community health and wellness needs.
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