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Blue Shield of California Joins Forces with Tennis Champion and Entrepreneur Venus Williams to Help End Bias in Health Care

OAKLAND, Calif. (September 20, 2021) – Blue Shield of California today announced a new collaboration with tennis champion, entrepreneur, and equality advocate Venus Williams to help bring attention to the bias that exists today in health care. Williams, a 7-time grand slam champion, is one of several women featured in the nonprofit health plan’s latest advertising campaign, titled ”Hear Me.”

“For groups, including but not limited to, women, people of color, immigrants, and low-income populations, accessing and receiving the care they need and deserve can be challenging,” said Jeff Robertson, senior vice president of consumer growth and chief marketing officer at Blue Shield of California. “We are proud to be working with tennis icon and activist Venus Williams in addressing the implicit biases and systemic inequities that persist in health care today.”

Williams will collaborate with Blue Shield over the next year, speaking out on a variety of issues, including her auto-immune disorder Sjogren’s Syndrome, mental health, black maternal health, and fitness and wellness.

“I am deeply passionate about prioritizing health and well-being, so joining the Blue Shield of California team on this campaign was an easy decision,” said Williams. “I look forward to advocating on issues that I truly believe will not only uplift women, but also shed light on matters that affect entire families and communities.”

Blue Shield of California is a mission-driven nonprofit health plan committed to creating a healthcare system that is worthy of our family and friends and sustainably affordable. In order to get there, Robertson said, “We need to take an honest look at our current healthcare system and how it is experienced by people of color, women, non-native English speakers, people who are non-binary, undocumented immigrants, and people with apparent and non-apparent disabilities. Our ‘Hear Me’ campaign is designed to give voice to those who, for too long, have gone unheard.”

“Unfortunately, many women – including myself – have felt dismissed, ignored, or even faced judgement when seeking answers about their health,” said Williams. “It’s important that we speak up and let our stories be told.  I’m grateful to have found answers around my health challenges and want to help other women do the same.”

In addition to Williams, the “Hear Me” ads will showcase other inspiring women, including one who speaks candidly about her struggles with a recent pregnancy and overall Black maternal care, and an ovarian cancer survivor. 

“Hear Me” is part of a larger Blue Shield advertising campaign titled “Who We Stand For Sets Us Apart,” celebrating the strength and accomplishments of women. Among those appearing in that commercial are Chelsea Werner, a four-time Special Olympics USA Gymnastics Champion and model with Down Syndrome, along with other women including a Latina trauma nurse, a military veteran, and a ballet dancer in her 60s. 


About Blue Shield of California

Blue Shield of California strives to create a healthcare system worthy of its family and friends that is sustainably affordable. Blue Shield of California is a tax paying, nonprofit, independent member of the Blue Shield Association with over 4.5 million members, more than 7,500 employees and more than $21 billion in annual revenue. Founded in 1939 in San Francisco and now headquartered in Oakland, Blue Shield of California and its affiliates provide health, dental, vision, Medicaid and Medicare healthcare service plans in California. The company has contributed more than $150 million to Blue Shield of California Foundation in the last four years to have an impact on California communities.

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