CareFirst’s 5th Annual Week of Equity & Action Cultivates Thriving Communities
CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield (CareFirst) recently hosted its 5th Annual Week of Equity & Action, reinforcing the company’s commitment to fostering an inclusive and equitable environment where employees, members, and communities can thrive.
As the mid-Atlantic region’s largest not-for-profit health plan and a leading employer in the Baltimore-Washington metropolitan area, CareFirst’s Week of Equity & Action is core to the organization’s mission to provide affordable, accessible and equitable healthcare for all. By dedicating time and resources to listening to one another and learning about different lived experiences, CareFirst and its employees can better act to meet the needs of the people and communities we serve.
Throughout the week, employees prioritized attending workshops, panel discussions, and speaker sessions to hear directly from thought leaders and experts on topics curated to challenge and empower attendees.
Employees heard the unique perspective of a trauma surgeon and U.S. Air Force Veteran who delivered a powerful keynote on the complex roots of gun violence—a public health epidemic and the leading cause of premature death in the U.S.
Workshops focused on understanding microaggressions, navigating multigenerational teams and workplaces, incorporating accessibility into everyday decisions, showing up as an ally in ways big and small, engaging in self-reflection to raise self-awareness and emotional intelligence, and more.
The closing session featured a diverse group of panelists, who spoke on the power of names—how our names are inextricably linked to our identity and personhood, and the harm that can result from diminishing an individual’s self-worth by disregarding their correct name or pronouns.
Over 5,500 CareFirst employees actively engaged in this learning, practicing empathy and celebrating differences to better themselves and better the communities where we all live, learn, work, and seek care.
In addition to listening and learning, employees also had the opportunity to act during the Week of Equity & Action. Mid-week, nearly 1,000 employees went out into communities across Maryland, Virginia, Washington, D.C., West Virginia, and beyond to volunteer with 35 community and nonprofit partners.
Employees picked up trash, removed invasive plant species in parklands, planted trees, and beautified outdoor multi-use spaces. They harvested produce, packaged meal kits, and served hot meals to people experiencing homelessness and joblessness. They sorted donations of clothes, diapers, food, sports equipment, books, and hygiene products. They painted walls, constructed wheelchair-accessible ramps, stained decking, and assisted in renovating a vacant property to create equitable affordable homeownership opportunities.
Most importantly, volunteers engaged with community leaders and neighbors, learning how their unique experiences and backgrounds shape who they are and make them valued members of our community.
As CareFirst continues to create and maintain a safe, diverse, and equitable environment for all, we encourage other employers, community leaders, and individuals throughout the region to join us in listening, learning, and acting.