Dr. Thomas C. Hawkins, Medical Director, Health Informatics, Health & Medical Management, and Yvonne Howard, Member Service Quality Coach, both of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts (BCBSMA) were honored with the Partners Award during the company’s Multicultural Marketing (McM) annual luncheon held March 25th at The Landmark Center, Boston, MA. Get Konnected!, Boston’s premier multicultural professional networking event, founded by Colette Phillips, CEO, Colette Phillips Communications, was presented with the Community Partner Award and 35 BCBSMA McM Ambassadors were recognized for their outstanding Multicultural Marketing outreach and advocacy in communities across Massachusetts.
Now in its sixth year, the Multicultural Marketing luncheon was established to highlight the contributions and advancements of McM for the prior year.
“Our customers, like us, are trying to create more diverse work forces and they, too, are responding to the demographic changes we’re seeing in our society,” said Andrew Dreyfus, President and CEO, BCBSMA. “Our current goal is about affordability and providing the best services to our customers and members; a piece of that has to be superb in the area of diversity, multicultural understanding, multicultural marketing. It has to be a core competency and expertise of this organization to be the kind of community leader we want and need to be.”
Juliette Mayers, Executive Director, Multicultural Marketing, BCBSMA, who hosted the luncheon, led the creation and launch of McM for BCBSMA in 2008 with a focus on business diversity and multicultural outreach solutions.
According to the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services Offices of Minority Health, in 2008 Cancer was the first or second leading cause of death for minorities in the U.S. with African-Americans having the highest mortality rate for all cancers combined. Heart disease was the leading killer across most minorities in the U.S., accounting for 25 percent of all deaths in 2008.
Recognizing the need to reach diverse populations more broadly, Mayers implemented the McM Ambassador program to connect to diverse audiences and meet them where they live and work.
BCBSMA associates are selected to serve as McM Ambassadors following an interview process and participate in comprehensive training that focuses on BCBSMA products and Cultural Competence. McM Ambassadors represent BCBSMA at events and activities in ethnic and minority communities with the goal of extending the BCBSMA brand and engaging multicultural audiences.
Several years after implementing the Ambassadors program, it was extended to include the Multicultural Leadership Development Program (MLDP), which provided selected Ambassadors with an opportunity to take on a more hands-on leadership role. The MLDP leaders promote and implement multicultural marketing outreach efforts and work to increase utilization of BCBSMA’s health and wellness resources and tools, contributing to the company’s overall goals of membership growth and enhanced value for diverse constituents. In September 2013 another expansion of the program, Multicultural Business Consultants (MBC), was launched to support Sales with the increased demand for multicultural competency.
As a result of the extensive training the Ambassadors, MLDP’s and MBC’s receive, they professionally represent the BCBSMA brand by understanding the audience and relaying important messages about quality healthcare. Due, in part, to the contributions of the McM initiatives, BCBSMA was recognized by the National Committee of Quality Assurance (NCQA), a widely recognized seal and symbol of quality, as the highest ranked large health plan in America.
The goal of the Ambassador, MLDP and MBC leader programs are designed to:
- Reduce gaps through increasing well visits
- Reduce gaps through increasing cancer screenings
- Reduce gaps through increasing periodic health evaluations (primary care access)
- Increase physical activity levels, BMI screening, and nutrition engagement among all groups
Since its inception, 35 BCBSMA associates have been trained and participated in 19 multicultural events in 2013 reaching close to 100,000 people in diverse communities across the Commonwealth. One-hundred percent of the participants, following a survey, reported positive contributions to their career and personal development and 68 percent have received promotions.
“We are constantly raising the bar and our CEO has been very clear about our company’s commitment to all forms of diversity,” said Juliette Mayers, Executive Director, Multicultural Marketing, BCBSMA. “I am particularly proud of the work of our multicultural marketing ambassadors.”
Tim O’Brien, Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing and McM Executive Sponsor, presented the awards to the honorees.
About Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts (www.bluecrossma.com) is a community-focused, tax-paying, not-for-profit health plan headquartered in Boston. We are the trusted health plan for more than 31,500 Massachusetts employers and are committed to working with others in a spirit of shared responsibility to make quality health care affordable. Consistent with our corporate promise to always put our 2.8 million members first, we are rated among the nation’s best health plans for member satisfaction and quality. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and