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Blue Shield of California and American Heart Association, Greater Bay Area Launch Signature Program to Improve the Heart Health of Oakland Students

SAN FRANCISCO (March 19, 2018) – Blue Shield of California and The American Heart Association (AHA) announced today the “Make Time for Health” program encouraging Oakland-area elementary students to improve their heart health by focusing on three pillars: a tobacco-free lifestyle, increased physical activity and balanced nutrition. This is the first program of its kind in Oakland.  The three-year, $750,000 initiative, funded entirely by Blue Shield, will reach approximately 2,000 students annually across select schools in the Oakland Unified School District (OUSD).


Together the AHA and Blue Shield of California will provide resources and educational sessions to support and inspire students in grades 3-5 to maintain an active, healthy lifestyle, and reduce the risk for cardiovascular diseases. The program aims to reach the students and their families.

“As we plan for our headquarters move to Oakland, we’re partnering with the American Heart Association, Oakland students and health leaders in the community to support children and teens in making healthy choices that will last a lifetime,” said Paul Markovich, president and CEO of Blue Shield of California. “As a nonprofit, mission-driven health plan, we are committed to ensuring everyone has access to high-quality, affordable health care. This also means supporting the communities where we work and live.”

The American Heart Association’s “Life is Why” theme will launch the Oakland initiative and will be featured at the “Make Time for Health” festival in Oakland on Thursday, May 3, convening hundreds of Oakland Unified School District students for a fun-filled day of exercise and nutrition education.

“We are pleased to collaborate with our new neighbor, Blue Shield of California, on moving the needle with improving the health of Oakland youth and teens,” said Dan Smoot, President, Board of Directors, American Heart Association, Greater Bay Area. “This program keeps the three pillars of heart health top of mind with students in a fun, interactive and meaningful way. We’re meeting kids and families where they are.”

In addition to the “Make Time for Health” program, Blue Shield is engaging with the Oakland Public Education Fund through the “Adopt a School Program” to engage Blue Shield employees in volunteer projects at two Oakland elementary schools. The volunteer projects will focus on promoting healthy lifestyles through nutrition and gardening education, preparing students and families for 21st century college and career readiness, and fostering strong relationships between families and teachers.

Information about the “Make Time for Health” project can be found on AHA Greater Bay Area’s Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages.



Contact: Terry Mock | 510 847-0248 |




Claire Baki | 415-229-5971 |

About the American Heart Association



The American Heart Association is devoted to saving people from heart disease and stroke – the two leading causes of death in the world. We team with millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, fight for stronger public health policies, and provide lifesaving tools and information to prevent and treat these diseases. The Dallas-based association is the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke. To learn more or to get involved, call 1-800-AHA-USA1, visit or follow us on Facebook | Instagram | Twitter.

About Blue Shield of California

Blue Shield of California, an independent member of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, is a nonprofit health plan with 4 million members, 6,800 employees and more than $17 billion in annual revenue. Founded in 1939 and headquartered in San Francisco, Blue Shield of California and its affiliates provide health, dental, vision, Medicaid and Medicare health care service plans in California. The company’s mission is to ensure all Californians have access to high-quality care at an affordable price. Blue Shield has contributed more than $500 million to Blue Shield of California Foundation. Contact your local agent or broker about Blue Shield of California products and services or visit