STATEN ISLAND PPS RECEIVES GRANT FROM EMPIRE BLUECROSS BLUESHIELD FOUNDATION FOR $100,000 TO ADDRESS RACIAL HEALTH INEQUITIES
Staten Island, NY, MARCH, 2021 – Staten Island PPS received a $100,000 grant from Empire BlueCross BlueShield Foundation as part of the Healthy Generations Program. The Healthy Generations Program focuses on targeting specific, preventable health concerns—and addressing the disparities and social determinants that affect them—to create a healthier generation of Americans. Empire is committed to investing in programs that focus on preventable health conditions while addressing disparities and social determinants of health, which is at the core of the work Staten Island PPS has achieved together with our partners over the last five years.
“At Empire, we are committed to improving the lives and health of everyone in the communities we support,” said Jennifer Kuhn, Empire Medicaid Plan President. “Through this partnership, we’ll continue to provide meaningful resources dedicated to addressing racial inequalities and health disparities that adversely impact communities of color.”
The focus of the grant is highly aligned with SI PPS population health activities – to create systemic change to better address health disparities, especially in communities of color. It will support collaborative health care by incorporating mental health into primary care services, improving access to mental health services and addressing social determinant of health needs.
The $100,000 funding from this grant will be braided into additional program support to build the capacity of our 70 partner organizations to do this work. “Our greatest strength is our comprehensive partnership network” according to Dr. Joseph Conte, Executive Director of the Staten Island PPS. He added, “Together, our work allows providers and CBOs to adjust to the changing conditions stemming from COVID-19 and mitigate the pressures on our healthcare system, while still addressing the multitudes of health crises that we faced before the virus”.
Specifically, this grant will be used to help increase screening and identification of individuals, specifically for substance use disorder, and increase referrals and access to substance use disorder treatment and services, and other behavioral health resources. Staten Island PPS will also use this grant to fund and collaborate with BIPOC led organizations to understand and address racial disparities, ensuring health care providers on Staten Island are providing culturally competent care. “SI PPS is grateful for this funding from Empire”, says Ashley Restaino, Managing Director of Strategy and Operations at SI PPS. “It will help us achieve our mission of not only improving overall health for Staten Islanders but addressing racial disparities that negatively impact BIPOC communities. We are eager to understand health equity issues from the voices of community members and use our influence in the provider community to implement positive changes.”
The activities from this program will create ongoing benefits to communities of color. It will integrate behavioral health into primary care services and help make mental health routine. Our SDoH platform will provide access to additional social resources on an ongoing basis. Cultural competency training, provided under the grant, will also support and encourage a more diverse and culturally sensitive healthcare environment.