BlueCross BlueShield of WNY Announces Recipients of $2.5 Awards

BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York on Oct. 3 announced its second cycle of Blue Fund awardees, awarding $2.5 million to 12 major health-based projects across Western New York.

The Blue Fund awards major grants in Western New York to organizations and initiatives that have a positive impact on key health areas. These include behavioral health, cardiovascular health, diabetes, health care workforce development, healthy children and the opioid epidemic.

Recipients are?

• Boys & Girls Clubs of Buffalo

• Compeer of Greater Buffalo, Inc.

• Cornell Cooperative Extension of Erie County

•Council on Addiction Recovery Services

• Directions in Independent Living, Inc

• Gateway Longview

• Gerard Place

• Kids Escaping Drugs

• Massachusetts Avenue Project

• Mental Health Association of WNY

• Population Health Collaborative

• Willie Hutch Jones Educational and Sports Programs

David Anderson, president and CEO of BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York, described the insights behind the focus areas as those that will “have the highest impact on the overall health and well-being of Western New York residents. An investment in any of the key areas not only benefits us today but sets us up for a better future.”

In a press release, officials at the Population Health Collaborative, which focuses on creating connections for Western New York health, said they will use the funding toward a new initiative, LiveWell WNY, using the 3-4-50 model. This model explains that three behaviors (lack of exercise, poor diet and tobacco use) lead to four diseases (cancer, heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and lung disease) that contribute to 50% of all deaths.

“Here at the Population Health Collaborative, we are focusing on creating connections,” said John Craik, executive director, Population Health Collaborative. “We know as a region we are program rich, but systems poor. We have the assets we need to improve context in which people make choices that either harm or help their health, but those assets are not aligned. As a result, Western New York’s growth and development is impeded by the largest and most costly chronic disease burden in New York State.”