Globally, many organizations are pursuing diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives, but what that work entails varies from company to company. For Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (Blue Cross NC), it is a data-focused lens we apply to achieve our business objectives. It’s not jargon or a buzzword, but actionable work to strengthen North Carolina.
Our company’s purpose is to improve the health and well-being of our customers and communities – we won’t stop until health care is better for all. Achieving health equity is fundamentally connected to our work to make health care better for all.
In other words, we want all North Carolinians to have the opportunity to be healthy.
We don’t have that… yet. Nationally, North Carolina’s overall health consistently ranks in the bottom third of U.S. states. Even though we have some of the top hospitals in the nation and our state houses research hubs and universities that help drive our nation’s medical innovation, in 2020 we ranked 36 of 50 states. While many North Carolinians receive high-quality health care, we are guided by the belief that all North Carolinians should.
Our DEI-driven work reduces some of the most harmful and costly disparities in health outcomes.
An evolving approach
We’ve understood the importance of and need for dedicated DEI work for more than 15 years. But we, like so many organizations, took a more serious inventory of our approaches and outcomes in the summer of 2020.
Our approach, led by our CEO Tunde Sotunde, MD, MBA, FAAP, evolved to a new level of intentionality. Our work has expanded wider and dug deeper, drawing input from every division throughout our company. Rather than leaving a single DEI office or department to operate in isolation, we set up a DEI Council to provide oversight, leadership and strategic alignment for enterprise-wide initiatives that advance diversity, equity and inclusion.