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Excellus awards health-equity funding to Utica region groups

Excellus BlueCross BlueShield announced it has awarded $85,000 to three Utica–area organizations for programs it says address racial and ethnic health disparities. (Photo credit: Excellus BlueCross BlueShield Facebook page)

UTICA, N.Y. — Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, Central New York’s largest health insurer, has announced several Utica region recipients of its 2023 Health Equity Innovation Awards.

The awards represent more than $520,000 in financial support for community programs that address racial and ethnic health disparities across Excellus’ upstate New York service area.

Excellus awarded $85,000 in the Utica region to support the following initiatives: Madison County Rural Health Council, Inc. Doula Initiatives to provide doula services to residents in Madison County who qualify as low income or may have challenges accessing care and support; Mohawk Valley Prenatal & Maternity Support Sister Circle: Black Birth & Breastfeeding Initiative to provide a three-day culturally sensitive workshop training taught by DONA International-certified doula trainers; and, Inc. Nourishing our Neighbors with the Fair Food Program to provide access to local foods through monthly stipends through vendor-restricted smart cards.


Earlier this year, Excellus said it invited organizations to apply for awards of up to $30,000 each to help fund initiatives, programs, and research that specifically targets the root causes of health inequities with a focus on addressing structural racism. Award categories included improving the community’s physical and mental health, reducing social disparities in health care, and ensuring access to health-care services. Recipients were selected based on clear, defined goals, and measurable results, the health insurer said.

Excellus received more than 180 applications, and the funding awards support 20 nonprofit organizations across its service area in the Rochester, Central New York, Utica/North Country, and Southern Tier regions.

Based in Rochester, Excellus BlueCross BlueShield is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association. The nonprofit health plan has more than 1.5 million members and employs over 3,500 people.


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