The Willmar Experience - How the State’s Largest Health Plan is Engaging an Entire Community to Improve Health

While one of the healthiest states in the nation, Minnesota is also home to some of the deepest racial inequities. As only 20% of our health is determined by what happens inside the medical system, innovative efforts to address community factors are critical. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota sees this community work as essential to improve health outcomes for all and to reduce the cost of care. Blue Cross has entered a unique partnership with the city of Willmar Minnesota to engage residents to define and create the conditions for health for all. This partnership has influenced the way Blue Cross does business and has created multiple opportunities for residents to connect across culture, identify locally tailored solutions, and experiment with innovative approaches to building community health. Learn more about this initiative and its innovative and community-based approach to service delivery.

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Maria Regan Gonzalez

Senior Project Manager, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota
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Maria is a Senior Program Manager in the Community Health and Health Equity Department of Blue Cross where she brings people from across the company together to change the way Minnesota’s leading health insurance company does business to better address health inequities and changing health needs of our state. As a part of the Healthy Together Willmar Team, Maria provides strategy support to this innovative approach that brings all of Blue Cross’ assets to bear in service to a healthier Willmar. Maria is earning her Masters of Public Health from the University of Minnesota and serves on the Richfield City Council. She specializes in supporting large mainstream institutions in instituting policy and practice changes to better reflect and include the changing faces of their customers and communities.