Addressing Racial Health Disparities with BCBSA

Published on:
October 14, 2021

Blue Cross Blue Shield Association’s VP of Strategy & Analytics, Mark Talluto, spoke at the Going Digital: Behavioral Health Tech 2021 summit about their data-driven approach to address behavioral health conditions and the disparities that affect communities of color (watch his session with me here). BCBSA recognizes the importance of addressing the racial health disparities that exist for mental health diagnosis and treatment in this country. 

Their studies show about one-third of millennials have a diagnosable behavioral health condition. Although, Black and Hispanic millennial communities have a lower prevalence, likely due to under-diagnosis. BCBSA’s National Health Equity Strategy strives to address racial health disparities by collecting data, scaling effective programs, working with providers and communities, and influencing policy decisions.

Next week, I will be joining fellow healthcare industry professionals at the BCBSA Health of America Forum on October 20-21 (learn more here), including Briana Duffy, Market President for the West Region of Beacon Health, and Shana Hoffman, President and CEO of New Directions Behavioral Health. I'll be asking them about how Beacon and New Directions  are focusing on stigma, access and cultural understanding when it comes to behavioral health service delivery.

Why is now the time to talk about mental health and what does that have to do with health equity?

Communities of color are disproportionately impacted by many of the nation’s top health conditions, including mental health. Health disparities are a multi-dimensional problem that cannot be solved by one single solution. It requires action from policy makers, providers, communities and healthcare industry leaders to raise awareness about mental health conditions, including anxiety and depression, that affect various generations and marginalized communities. By speaking openly about mental health, and the importance for leaders – no matter the industry – to address these conditions, we can explore ways to reduce stigma associated with mental illness, promote help-seeking behaviors and emotional wellbeing practices.

What is the Health of America Forum really going to cover?

The third annual Health of America Forum hosted by the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association will take a deep dive into the key issues driving the maternal and mental health crises in America, including how we can collectively address racial health disparities. Over two days, business decision-makers, community leaders, and HR and wellness officers will virtually come together to discuss what steps should be taken to reimagine a more equitable healthcare system. We will discuss the challenges we face in addressing mental health issues, particularly in black and brown communities, and as a result of COVID-19. Join us here.

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