October 25, 2016
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Project embraces African art to reinforce health & wellness in NY hospitals


Empire BlueCross BlueShield Launches 'Art Heals' Program with Museum for African Art, Greater New York Hospital Association



NEW YORK,  -- Empire BlueCross BlueShield, The Museum for African Art, and the Greater New York Hospital Association (GNYHA) present "Art Heals," a unique program that will bring African art to nearly 100 New York hospitals this fall. "Art Heals" combines high-quality African-art prints with inspirational commentary on health and wellness to build bridges between New York's immigrant communities and the City's health care system. Thanks to a grant provided by Empire's parent-company foundation, the posters will be distributed through GNYHA to 94 hospitals that serve key immigrant populations in the five boroughs of New York City and Nassau County.

"This program provides a great opportunity to raise and enhance the perception of health care among the diverse communities of New York City," said Mark Wagar, president and CEO of Empire BlueCross BlueShield. "Working together with the Museum for African Art and the hospital association is another way to stay connected with the people with whom we live and work. Our goal is to not only help maintain good health among the many members of Empire that live in New York, but within the community as a whole."

Elsie McCabe Thompson, President of the Museum for African Art, added, "The Museum for African Art hopes that the presence of culturally diverse art in healthcare institutions will help immigrants and members of minority groups feel not only welcome, but confident, in seeking routine advice, treatment and care in these facilities. We are delighted to be a part of this exciting initiative, which will spread the beauty of African art and culture while also communicating important messages about health."

"Art Heals" will donate a set of 12 posters of traditional and contemporary African art (organized into three "exhibitions") to all GNYHA member hospitals. Each set of posters will be accompanied by wall text explaining the images, as well as the connection between art and wellness and healthy lifestyles.

Nearly half of the population of New York City is a member of a minority group and nearly 40 percent are foreign-born. Programs like "Art Heals" offer an opportunity to open communications between these growing communities and the healthcare system.

"Art Heals" is just one of many Empire BlueCross BlueShield programs that strive to positively impact New York's State Health Index, a measure of public health data used by the National Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to identify major State health issues. As part of a larger effort to increase awareness of health and medical care, and to improve overall State health, Empire also collaborates with local healthcare providers and diverse community organizations to address the conditions that have the greatest impact on the health of New York residents.

You can find more information on "Art Heals" at www.africanart.org.

About Empire BlueCross BlueShield

Empire BlueCross BlueShield (Empire) is the trade name of Empire HealthChoice Assurance, Inc., and Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield HMO is the trade name of Empire HealthChoice HMO, Inc., independent licensees of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, serving residents and businesses in the 28 eastern and southeastern counties of New York State. Additional information about Empire is available at www.empireblue.com.

About the Museum for African Art

The Museum for African Art is the nation's leading independent institution devoted exclusively to the art and culture of Africa. Through exhibitions, publications, and engaging public programs for the widest possible audience, the Museum offers the public multiple perspectives from which to appreciate African art and understand the lives of the people who made it. Since its founding in 1984, the Museum's exhibitions have traveled to more than 100 major museums around the world. In late 2010 the Museum will open in its new building on Fifth Avenue at 110th Street, in New York City. This major project will enable the Museum to serve its diverse audiences with an enhanced agenda of exhibitions and public programs. Additional information is available at www.africanart.org.

About the Greater New York Hospital Association

Greater New York Hospital Association (GNYHA), founded in 1904, is a one-of-a-kind trade association comprising nearly 300 hospitals and continuing care facilities, both voluntary and public, in the metropolitan New York area and throughout the State, as well as New Jersey, Connecticut, and Rhode Island. Additional information is available at www.gnyha.org.


SOURCE Empire BlueCross BlueShield

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