Highmark community and employee awareness efforts

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Throughout the month of April, Highmark hosted a series of brown bag employee presentations to highlight National Minority Health month.

•On April 1, “When the Bough Breaks” was presented. The film explored the issue of African-American women and premature births.

•On April 15, Two presentations took place, “Sickle Cell Disease” and “Cancer by the African Community.”

•On April 19, “Autism Speaks” was presented.

•On April 26, “Gender Bias in Health Care” will be presented.

For more than six years, Highmark has partnered with the SilverSneakers Fitness Program, the nation’s leading exercise program for older adults, to offer an opportunity for seniors to participate, at no additional cost, in fitness activities and to improve their overall health. Because consistent exercise is a key component of a healthy lifestyle for people from all demographics, it has been imperative for Highmark to address the enrollment disparity and provide more access to fitness programs for our senior members.

To increase enrollment rates among African- American members, additional SilverSneakers locations were added to the existing network.

This effort resulted in Highmark being presented the Recognizing Innovation in Multicultural Health Care Award by The National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) in 2008.

Highmark has also partnered with SilverSneakers to offer a series of flu vaccine clinics at locations in minority neighborhoods.

While the primary goal of these clinics is to increase the vaccination rate within the minority membership, the clinics were located at SilverSneakers sites in predominantly African-American neighborhoods in order to increase awareness of the available fitness benefit to that particular population.

Since 2002, the Highmark Foundation has awarded more than $756,450 in grants to support programs and interventions which began as community-based participatory research (CBPR) projects.

Community-based participatory research programs are designed to reduce the burden of chronic disease in underserved populations. These programs offer sustainable, replicable or viable solutions that address health issues through multi-disciplinary approaches.

•University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health, Center for Minority Health—Healthy Black Family Project ($200,000)

•Centers for Healthy Hearts and Souls—Healthy Individual, Family and Community Program ($246,000)

•Washington County Health Partners—WellLife and Health Ministry Initiatives ($310,450).

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