Dr. Rachel Hardeman becomes first Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota Foundation Endowed Professor of Health and Racial Equity.
MINNEAPOLIS, MINN. (July 7, 2020) — The Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota Foundation (Blue Cross Foundation) and the University of Minnesota School of Public Health have announced an endowed professorship dedicated to health and racial equity. Dr. Rachel Hardeman, associate professor in the School of Public Health Division of Health Policy and Management, has been named the inaugural chair of this professorship.
This professorship was originally established in 1994, with a $500,000 grant from the Blue Cross Foundation to the University of Minnesota to establish an endowed chair focused on health insurance research and course work. That timing was fitting following the State of Minnesota and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota’s historic lawsuit against the tobacco industry that focused on health insurance and health care costs – issues essential to Blue Cross’s partnership in the lawsuit. This refocused professorship is an exciting and timely evolution of the program.
“We are thrilled to reinvigorate and evolve this professorship to focus on the defining public health issue of our time: racial and health equity,” said Carolyn Link, president of the Blue Cross Foundation. “Systemic racism permeates our society, resulting in significant disparities in health outcomes for Black people, Indigenous people and people of color. As a Foundation, we are proud to partner with the School of Public Health and Dr. Hardeman in this critical endeavor.”
Dr. Hardeman began her career in the School of Public Health in 2016, focusing on the health impact of institutional racism, unconscious bias, stigma and stereotype, as well as maternal and infant health, medical education, and burnout among resident physicians of color. In her ongoing research, she seeks to reveal structures of oppression and implement strategies to create more just systems.
“I’m honored to be named the inaugural Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota Foundation Endowed Professor of Health and Racial Equity,” said Dr. Hardeman. “While titles alone don’t create change, the resources, institutional support, and right people to lead the work do. I’m committed to creating critically conscious and effective scholarship that challenges the systems of oppression that prohibit Black people from thriving.”
For more information on this professorship and Dr. Hardeman, visit z.umn.edu/hardeman-professorship.
The Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota Foundation makes a healthy difference in communities by advancing health equity and improving conditions where people live, learn, work and play, awarding more than $55 million to over 500 nonprofits since it was established in 1986. For more information on Blue Cross’ grantmaking programs, visit bluecrossmnfoundation.org.
Since 1944, the University of Minnesota School of Public Health has brought innovative thinking and concrete action to emerging and persistent challenges, including infectious diseases, structural racism, an expanding aging population, and a changing climate. As a top 10 school in the U.S., it prepares some of the most influential leaders in the field, and provides the knowledge health departments, communities, and policymakers need to make the best decisions about population health. Learn more: sph.umn.edu.