Excellus BlueCross Blue Shield announced today the recipients of its 2022 Health Equity Awards. The awards represent more than $560,000 in financial support for community programs that address racial and ethnic health disparities across its upstate New York service area.


“This second round of Health Equity Award funding will support underserved people with health disadvantages due to race, ethnicity, disability, sex, gender and/or rural disparities,” says Gina Cuyler, MD, Excellus BCBS vice president of health equity and community investments.  “We are proud to align our resources and efforts to partner and identify areas of collaboration with our local community organizations.”


Earlier this year, Excellus BCBS invited organizations to apply for awards of up to $30,000 each to help fund programs to improve health equity in communities of color, especially within Black and Latino communities. These segments of our community continue to suffer from health care and social disadvantages due to racism and discrimination. Award categories include, but were not limited to, improving the community’s physical health and mental health, reducing social disparities in health care, and ensuring access to health care services.


The funding from Excellus BCBS will support 21 nonprofit, 501(c)(3) organizations across the Rochester, CNY/Syracuse, Utica, and Southern Tier Regions. With more than 170 applicants, a comprehensive review process included input from individuals with diverse backgrounds and experiences to assess each proposal. Grant recipients were selected based on clear, defined goals and measurable results for reducing health disparities and improving health equity.


In the Utica Region, $110,000 is being awarded to support the following four initiatives:


  • American Heart Association: The Association will address the health of residents through Self-Measured Blood Pressure monitoring and supporting clinical evidence-based blood pressure activities in rural Herkimer County towns.  A Hypertension Summit is planned to bring together health care organizations, medical practices, and health-focused organizations to collectively address blood pressure control.
  • ICAN: Launching a targeted initiative that focuses on racial equity by raising awareness about Evelyn’s House, educating staff, and elevating the voices of recent Evelyn’s House graduates by expanding their current Evelyn’s House Graduate Peer Support Program.
  • Mohawk Valley Resource Center for Refugees: In partnership with MVHS and CenteringPregnancy, the program ensures that minority and under-served populations are able to access the appropriate education, healthcare, and prevention strategies in order to address maternal health for refugees and immigrants.
  • Upstate Family Health Center: The program brings Substance Abuse, Behavioral Health, and Primary Care together to provide a comprehensive plan to effectively treat a patient. It will result in a stigma free environment that allows patients to be seen without the worry of being seen going into a drug treatment center.



For the latest information on the health plan’s community investments and partnerships, members, providers and employers are encouraged to visit https://news.excellusbcbs.com/news-room/community-investments-partnerships.


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