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Friday, Jun 9, 2023

Wellpoint Takes A Scientific Approach To Diversity Issue

By Stephen Chapek Contributing Reporter Diversity is more than just about whom you hire to work for your company; it can also impact your health. Wellpoint’s scientific approach to diversity recognizes that a person’s ethnicity, culture and genetics have much to do with which health issues will be faced during a person’s life. Grace Ting, health services director for Wellpoint at its Ventura County corporate center, knows this better than anyone. She studies health disparities and outcomes for the company’s chief medical officer, so that Wellpoint can customize its treatment and outreach to its racially diverse patient base. “My job is to focus our disparities research on areas where we can make the most difference,” Ting said, including areas such as immunizations, all types of cancer screenings, diabetes and obesity. Using proxy methodology, a type of statistical analysis to pinpoint differences in patient care and disease rates, Ting has recently researched why African-American and Hispanic patients tend to suffer higher rates of diabetes than Caucasians and why these groups often respond less effectively to treatment. Many of the reasons have less to do with one’s physical attributes and more to do with complex cultural issues, such as lifestyle, diet and education, Ting explained. “When you know your population is not being well-served, that tells us we have to do a better job of communicating with our physicians and members so they understand the nuances of their diseases and treatments,” Ting said. While disparity research is one example where diversity awareness has a concrete impact on healthcare, Wellpoint has also been recognized as a leader for its more traditional promotion of diversity management. Women have received their fair share of attention. “Seventy-five percent of our new hires are women,” said David L. Casey, vice-president of diversity and workplace culture at Wellpoint, also noting that a similar percentage of women make up their entire workforce. It is also the largest Fortune 500 Company to be led by a woman Angela Braly is the recently appointed chief executive. The company also recognizes that three-fourths of all household health care decisions are made by women, Casey said.

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