Each Monday, our team does a quick planning check-in. We share schedules and major project items. This week, just about everyone is travelling at least one evening to attend a high school or college graduation.
It’s got me wondering — with thousands of Louisiana’s young people preparing to enter either higher education or the workforce, what will the health and wellbeing of our state look like at their ten-year reunion? These kinds of milestones prompt us to think about what we want to be different. The Foundation is working towards the day when Louisiana kids and communities are happy and healthy, so it begs the question, what would it take to get there?
Here are a few things I believe and hope are possible ten years from now:
- Equitable outcomes in care: The digitization and democratization of health data yield significant studies in gaps in care and health equity. We are able to use data to identify places where care isn’t available, where bias and support gaps have influenced disparities in health outcomes, and we have implemented best practices to close the gaps experienced by people of color, people in rural areas and people living in poverty. By ending those disparities, we improve health outcomes for all.
- Communities have a health focus: Each community in the state has built a coalition of local government, healthcare providers and community organizations to promote health. Together, they are supporting healthy eating, exercise classes, emotional wellbeing and other efforts that their community believes are priorities to improve overall health and quality of life. Louisiana towns and cities are actively competing to be known as both the happiest AND the healthiest.
- Mental health: An end to stigmas related to mental health and treatment. There is quality, affordable mental health treatment for all, including addiction and recovery. Communities come together to treat trauma and build resilience.
- Care navigation for all: In each region for the state, there is a consistent roadmap for wrap-around services to address the needs of patients living with mental health issues and other issues that interrupt health and wellness. Supports are in place for patients to address food and housing insecurity and other social determinants of health.
- No gaps in the healthcare workforce and equitable access: Louisiana has developed its talent pipeline to completely close gaps in the nursing and primary care workforce. Higher education and healthcare providers collaborate to produce enough high quality candidates to treat Louisiana’s patients in any setting; and those patients, as a result, have access to quality care near where they live.
At the end of May, we’re meeting in Baton Rouge to learn from Foundation grantees who are doing this work and have seen results, lessons-learned and best practices to share. We are doing this precisely to inspire folks to learn from and “steal” from each other. If a great project works for one community, we hope that another will learn from it, tweak it and put it to use in their own hometown.
Sharing these lessons is absolutely a part of how we reach a better future over the next decade. You are cordially invited to be a part of that meeting – you can register for free online, and we hope you’ll join us to learn and share your insights.
What else do you hope will change by our students’ ten-year reunion? And what’s your plan to make that happen? Let’s start a conversation and together, let’s make progress a reality for communities across our state.
BCBSLA Foundation President and Head of Community Relations