New Partnership Addresses Silent Epidemic with Comprehensive Outreach and Awareness Programs
Chicago, Oct. 16, 2012 — Health Care Service Corporation (HCSC), the nation’s largest customer-owned health insurer, and Loveisrespect, the ultimate source of support for young people to prevent and end dating abuse, announce an initiative to educate one million teens on teen dating abuse and prevention.
HCSC, operator of Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans in Illinois, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas, and Loveisrespect’s new collaboration will reduce the growing epidemic of teen dating violence with tailored, on-the-ground outreach and awareness programs that will better equip our schools, families and communities with the information and resources needed to respond to this issue. According to multiple studies, one in three adolescents in the U.S. is a victim of physical, sexual, emotional or verbal abuse from a dating partner -– a figure that far exceeds rates of other types of youth violence –- and nearly 1.5 million high school students experience physical abuse from a dating partner in a single year.
Through this alliance, communities in Illinois, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas will learn to identify the warning signs and better respond to teen dating violence through the creation of school-based initiatives such as “Loveisrespect Institutes.” As many as 1,000 free toolkits, the largest single distribution of its kind, will be sent out and will include a curriculum which leverages technology to provide teachers with web-based activities and methods for creating a supportive community.
“As a result of HCSC’s support, our innovative service-learning programs will help young people develop healthy definitions of positive relationships. We’re creating, conducting, evaluating and distributing a comprehensive dating abuse prevention program that will lead to measurable successes,” said Cristina Escobar, director of Loveisrespect.
“We are honored to have an opportunity to team with other organizations who share our commitment to creating pathways for teenagers, their families and friends to build relationships of warmth, mutual respect and love,” said Conway McDanald , chief medical officer, behavioral health, HCSC. “In our initative with Loveisrespect, we have tailored the program to our states to spread awareness and provide support to prevent teen dating violence and abuse. The collective impact creates a safe space for teens to talk about things that may be difficult and helps them decide when and where they want to do it, at any time, using any mode of communication they choose.”
This program is in conjunction with Healthy Kids, Healthy Families (HKHF), a three-year initiative with a goal of improving the health and wellness of at least one million children in four states, Illinois, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas.
The HKHF initiative invests in and partners with nonprofit organizations that offer sustainable, measurable programs to reach children and their families in four pillar categories including supporting safe environments, nutrition education, physical activity, and disease prevention and management. Overall, the Healthy Kids, Healthy Families initiative reflects HCSC’s commitment to make a meaningful difference across all of the areas we serve. Within the first year, the HKHF initiative granted more than $6 million to more than 90 community partners across the four states it serves. Currently in the second year of the initiative, funding decisions and new partnerships are being identified across our four states. Additional “Healthy Kids, Healthy Families” pillar partners include:
- American Lung Association “Enhancing Care for Children with Asthma Project” –- a program that implements community-based interventions to improve the health outcomes of children with asthma. The goal of the program is to improve pediatric asthma care to an estimated 480,000 children over the next three years in Illinois, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas.
- KaBOOM! –- a partnership that encourages youth to incorporate exercise into their daily lives with healthy play. Since 2009, we’ve worked with KaBOOM! to build 18 playgrounds and are working to complete another 11 playgrounds in 2012.
- The CareVan Program –- in an effort to provide preventive care to uninsured and medically underserved children and adults, each of HCSC’s Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans operates a mobile immunization outreach program. In 2011, HCSC served 111,520 people with 145,243 immunizations and 43,366 other health services, which may include blood pressure screenings, body fat analysis, HIV testing, health education and dental services.