; Blue Cross & Blue Shield Of Rhode Island Announces 2012 Blueangel Community Health Grant Recipients
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Press Release

Blue Cross & Blue Shield Of Rhode Island Announces 2012 Blueangel Community Health Grant Recipients

Health insurer to provide eight local organizations with funding to improve access to healthcare for Rhode Island’s uninsured and under-insured

February 27, 2012

PROVIDENCE – Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island (BCBSRI) today announced that it will donate a total of $200,000 to the recipients of its 2012 BlueAngel Community Health Grant (BACHG) program.  Each of the eight local organizations will receive $25,000 to help improve quality and access to care for Rhode Island’s uninsured and under-insured populations.

“Training Community Health Workers; improving access to healthy foods in Providence’s low-income areas; and providing healthcare services to chronically homeless individuals in Woonsocket are just a few of the worthy efforts being undertaken by this year’s BACHG recipients,” said Peter Andruszkiewicz, president and chief executive officer for BCBSRI.  ”We are grateful for the opportunity to support these local organizations in their efforts to improve access to high-quality healthcare for some of the state’s most vulnerable populations.”

“The Blue Angel Community Health Grant (BACHG) has been incredibly helpful in furthering our goals at Dorcas Place,” said Manuela Raposo, director of workforce for Dorcas Place.  ”The funding has allowed us to bring more minority health practitioners into the field so that Rhode Island’s diverse population can receive the quality healthcare they deserve with a provider that they feel comfortable with.  Specifically, the grant has helped us expand our clinical observation component at the Rhode Island Welcome Back Center which provides foreign-trained health practitioners with exposure to a U.S. healthcare setting.”

The following four organizations will each receive $25,000 in BACHG funding in 2012:

  • Community Health Innovations of Rhode Island (CHI-RI) will receive funding to train twelve Community Health Workers (CHWs) to identify and prioritize health needs and disparities at two sites, the Southeast Asian Economic Development Center and Mount Hope Learning Center.  CHI-RI engages, activates and advocates to improve the health of vulnerable communities.
  • Environmental Justice League of Rhode Island (EJLRI) will use their funding to help launch the ECO Youth Multimedia Community Educators Food Justice Project.  This project will build on the success of the Healthy Corner Store Initiative (currently being undertaken in low-income areas of Providence that do not have easy access to large grocery stores with healthy food options) with a year-round after-school program called ECO Youth.  The project’s goals include creating a youth-run group to help local communities address healthy eating and food access concerns.
  • Ready to Learn Providence (R2LP) will receive funding to expand their “Healthy Futures” AmeriCorps program to ensure that children can achieve the health milestones needed to arrive at school ready to learn.  To help reduce health disparities, this model engages families that have been isolated from traditional outreach efforts that connect health and school readiness.  
  • Wood River Health Services (WRHS) will use their grant money to hire a Patient Outreach Educator to engage and educate low- and moderate-income residents of southern Rhode Island on the availability of affordable medical, dental and social services care.  WRHS provides a full range of medical, dental and social services to the community, regardless of ability to pay.  

Additionally, the following four organizations will each receive $25,000 in their second year of funding from BCBSRI’s two-year grant program:

  • Providence Community Health Center (PCHC) will continue to use the BlueAngel grant to expand the hours of the PCHC EXPRESS, an urgent care center that opened in 2009.  PCHC provides neighborhood-based high-quality and accessible primary medical care to improve the health status of the residents of Providence and surrounding communities, regardless of their ability to pay.  
  • Thundermist Community Health Center (TCHC) will continue to benefit from the BlueAngel grant by providing comprehensive case management services to chronically homeless individuals in the Woonsocket area through Healthcare for the Homeless, as well as monthly workshops at local shelters.  TCHC is the second largest health center in the state, providing medical, dental and behavioral health counseling as well as social services to more than 26,000 patients in Woonsocket, West Warwick and South County.  
  • Youth in Action (YiA) will continue to use their BlueAngel funding to provide more than 700 teens in underserved communities with education about healthy sexual decision making, access to culturally appropriate sexually transmitted infection testing and family planning services.  YiA is a partnership between youth, adults and the community where young people are at the forefront of creating positive social change.  
  • Dorcas Place will continue to use the BlueAngel grant to strengthen their program called The Rhode Island Welcome Back Center (RIWBC), which strives to build bridges between internationally-educated health professionals living in our community and the need for a more diverse healthcare workforce.  Dorcas Place is an adult education center which serves approximately 1,000 low-income Rhode Islanders annually.
  • The BACHG program is the cornerstone of BCBSRI’s charitable giving program.  Since its inception in 2002, BCBSRI has donated more than $1.9 million dollars to support Rhode Island nonprofit organizations providing health programs that expand access to care for thousands of uninsured and under-insured Rhode Islanders.  Since the BACHG program’s launch, more than 191,000 people have been helped by the funded programs.

This year, BCBSRI’s BACHG program specifically supported efforts focused on removing barriers to healthcare due to race, ethnicity, education and/or income; making healthcare more widely accessible to those who need it the most; and educating vulnerable populations about the importance of maintaining good health.

BlueAngel Community Health Grants are made possible by the BCBSRI Community Health Fund and The Rhode Island Foundation.

About Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island
Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island is the state’s leading health insurer and covers more than 600,000 members.  The company is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.   For more information, visit www.bcbsri.com and follow us on Twitter @BCBSRI.

The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association is a national federation of 36 independent, community-based and locally-operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies that collectively provide healthcare coverage for nearly 105 million members – one-in-three Americans.  For more information on the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association and its member companies, please visit bcbs.com. We encourage you to connect with us on Facebook, check out our videos on YouTube, follow us on Twitter and check out The BCBS Blog, for up-to-date information about BCBSA.