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February 21, 2022

DES MOINES, IA – Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield announced today that Laura Jackson has been named Executive Vice President, Health Equity, Access & Improvement to lead a new division within Wellmark dedicated to improving the health and well-being of Iowans and South Dakotans. This new division will work collaboratively with a wide range of stakeholders both within Wellmark and externally to energize Wellmark's on-going commitment to improve community health. Jackson will lead Wellmark's enhanced efforts to drive health care change and to address Iowa's and South Dakota's social determinants of health — the conditions in the places where people live, learn, work, and play that affect a wide range of health and quality-of-life risks and outcomes.

"Events during the last two years at the national, state and local levels highlight the vital importance of addressing disparities in our communities," said Cory Harris, Wellmark's President and CEO. "As the leading health insurer in Iowa and South Dakota, we understand the deep need to improve community health outcomes for all Iowans and South Dakotans. Laura's expertise, experience, and passion, along with her long-standing connections within the health care industry, will invigorate our commitment to community health, with a particular focus on rural health and health equity."

"I am honored to lead this new division and very important work within Wellmark," said Jackson. "By focusing on community health, we can make a long-term impact to the lives of the people living in the communities we serve throughout Iowa and South Dakota. We will start by looking at the data to target the areas with the highest volume of health disparities in Iowa and South Dakota and connecting with stakeholders to thoroughly understand those needs and opportunities to address them."

In addition to these local efforts, Wellmark also supports the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association’s national health equity strategy. This strategy intends to change the trajectory of health disparities and reimagine a more equitable health care system. To learn more about this work visit the Health of America Health Equity website External Link.