Jill R. Hummel, President of Anthem Blue Cross y Blue Shield: “My inspiration is to help our members.”

Jill R. Hummel is the current President of Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, one of the largest insurance companies in the State of Connecticut. In an interview with Identidad Latina, she talks about Anthem’s experience being main sponsor of the American Heart Association's GO Red for Women event for the last 2 years. She also spoke about the Empower To Serve (ETS) initiative, with the Spanish motto “Empoderados para Sivir” (Empower to Serve).

-Jill, tell us about your experience participating as the Chair of the American Heart Association GO RED initiative.

-The event is the culmination of efforts that were made throughout the year, in which the main objective has been to educate the public on how to improve the survival rate of people prone to heart disease. This can be achieved by making people aware of three things so simple that one can do and thus eliminate up to an 80 percent risk of having heart attacks.
-What are those three simple things?
-By eating healthy, exercising and not smoking. A very clear example is, if one does 60 percent of high intensity exercise, such as “jumping jacks”, you get the same benefits you would achieve by doing 3 days a week on the treadmill.

-Tell us about an initiative or recruitment effort that you’ve seen while chairing this event?

-I was reading an article in the New York Times about the disparities in health between white and non-white people, particularly when it comes to acute disease services such as heart health. One of the main reasons is that non-white people have a much higher risk because they lack exercise, have high blood pressure, and so on. Then I came to the crucial question of what could Anthem do to reach these communities and find a way to reach them?
-So how American Heart Association does takes part on this initiative?
-Coincidentally they were developing the program Empowered to Serve, (ETS) in other markets, just not yet in Connecticut.
-Tell us more about ETS?
-It is a purely community effort that is carried out in 12 lessons given in the form of series. It focuses mainly on 6 communities where health disparities exist in these areas, which lack services and where there are also health providers who can work with an ambassador in the community, since efforts must be consistent, i.e. in places where communities come together on a regular basis because everything is purely evidence-based. ETS health classes help a community committed to being motivated and taking steps to adopt a healthy, life-oriented philosophy of life. First of all, health check-ups are an important part of the program and a community that adopts the program must at least participate in 4 health lessons. Screenings can be chosen according to the community to which they are being taught. For example, a community can adopt within its 4 main lessons, a lesson focused on the current needs of its community. That is, if you are more prone to high blood pressure or you are with factors such as too much stress. Reviews are done at the beginning and end of the lessons in order to show results and also to know in which ways the program can be improved.

-Which are the current towns served?

-The following communities were identified as underserved areas and also with the largest health disparities in the country: Hartford, Bridgeport, New Haven, Norwalk and Manchester

-How can this program be implemented in a specific community?
-It has to be in communities where people are willing to promote the event. We also have to identify an "ambassador", someone who is willing to take the leadership role and who can empower the community

-Finally, to conclude our interview can you share with us who inspires you every day?
-The truth is, I'm inspired by all our members, as we're fortunate to have more than a million of them in Connecticut and if I can make a difference in the lives of at least a fraction of that total, this inspires me even more!

Elaine Rosales (elaine@identidadlatina.com)

Some helpful information:
* To learn more about Empowered to serve visit:http://www.empoweredtoserve.org/index.php/articles/vida-saludable/

** About “Blue Cross and Blue Shield” in Connecticut:

1) Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield works to improve health and strengthen local communities, directing more than 1.9 million members and hundreds of volunteers to help with health-related causes, organizations and programs in Connecticut.

2) Local Presence: Headquarters: Wallingford, CT; Chair: Jill H. Hummel; Associates: 1,400: Members: more than 1 million people.

3) Recognized nationally by the National Quality Assurance Committee (NCQA), classifying with its business plans within the top 50 national insurers and commercial insurers HMO plan in the State

4) Additional information about Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Connecticut is available at: www.anthem.com. Also on social networks such as www.twitter.com/healthjoinin, and Facebook at www.facebook.com/HealthJoinIn
Elaine Rosales
Identidad Latina

Identidad Latina
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