For seven years, Healthy Blue has partnered with Enterprise and Sojourner Truth Neighborhood Center to provide programs and resources to Lafitte residents. We spoke with Lisa Ellsworth, Healthy Blue community relations representative, about the organization's work in Louisiana, their partnership with Lafitte and their outlook for 2022.
Enterprise: Tell us about Healthy Blue’s community support and volunteerism in New Orleans.
Lisa Ellsworth: Healthy Blue is a managed healthcare provider that has been serving the state since 2012, and currently serves the state’s Medicaid, Medicaid Expansion and LaCHIP programs. Healthy Blue recognizes the challenges low-income and underserved individuals face, and tailors its programs such that health plan members are assured care that is not only accessible but also accountable, comprehensive, integrated and patient centered.
Healthy Blue provides ongoing community relations and outreach to encourage members to become active participants in their healthcare. Also, through health education programs, members are empowered to choose and sustain healthy lifestyles. To learn more about Healthy Blue, visit www.myhealthybluela.com.
E: How did Healthy Blue become involved with the residents at Lafitte?
LE: Healthy Blue first became involved with the residents of Lafitte back in 2014 after connecting with the director of Sojourner Truth Neighborhood Center at a monthly coalition meeting held at the center.
E: What are some of the programs you've done in Lafitte?
LE: Over the last seven years, Healthy Blue has partnered with Sojourner Truth Neighborhood Center and Enterprise Community Partners to sponsor and co-host a variety of programs including:
Annual back-to-school supply giveaway
Annual cookies and photos with Santa
Girls day out, a day to honor young girls in 4th-8th grades and provide health education
Total toddler takeover, educating parents on the importance of well checkups and developmental milestones through age 3
Ties that bind, a day to honor young men 12- to 16-years-old and provide information, health education and mentors
Weeklong diabetes camp in the summer with the American Diabetes Association
Summer camp for the Faubourg Lafitte neighborhood kids
Provide funding for the computer lab
E: How did Covid-19 adjust your support to Lafitte residents?
LE: Covid-19 brought challenges with all our in-person programming including the annual back-to-school event and cookies with Santa. To continue to provide the much-needed resources to the Lafitte Community we devised an alternate plan, operating within all federal, state and city Covid protocols.
We converted our back-to-school event to a neighborhood school supply distribution using volunteers that hand delivered the school kits door to door. And last year we revised the cookies and photos with Santa to a walk-up event, providing all the goodies in a take-home stocking as well as a Christmas backdrop that each family could use their personal mobile phones to take pictures.
E: What is a memorable story of Healthy Blue’s work with Lafitte residents?
LE: My fondest memory of working with the Lafitte residents is the back-to-school events that were designed to bring resources to the community. Not only did the kids receive school supplies so that they could be day one ready, but the parents also received valuable resource information about programs and services available to them. Additionally, due to a host of volunteers from the community, including Immanuel Church, we were also able to offer popcorn and snowballs and special outdoor games for the kids.
E: What is on tap for 2022?
LE: Healthy Blue looks forward to 2022 with hopes of returning to some of our in-person programs and reconnecting with the Faubourg Lafitte residents as Covid protocols permit.