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Blue Shield of California Promise Health Plan Wins 2021 Health Equity Award from the California Department of Health Care Services

Recognition Honors the BlueSky Program for Medi-Cal; Second year in a row that health plan has won an award from the state agency

OAKLAND, Calif. (Dec. 1, 2021) – Blue Shield of California Promise Health Plan has won the 2021 Health Equity Award from the California Department of Health Care Services for the nonprofit health plan’s BlueSky Program for Medi-Cal members. The state agency annually recognizes Medi-Cal managed care health plans that have excelled in improving the quality of health care for the millions of beneficiaries receiving Medi-Cal services.

BlueSky is a multi-year initiative to improve access, awareness, and advocacy for youth mental health support for California middle and high school students. It was launched in 2019 by Blue Shield of California and Blue Shield Promise health plans and operates in 20 schools in San Diego and Alameda counties.

BlueSky’s program includes providing access to clinicians in middle and high schools, training educators to spot signs of mental health issues, empowering students with culturally affirming mental health support resources, and supporting career development for professionals pursuing careers in mental health. 

“BlueSky goes beyond the traditional definition of health care to address the mental health crisis, helping to ensure our youth have access to culturally diverse and responsive mental health resources,” said Kristen Cerf, president and CEO of Blue Shield Promise. “It’s a new model of collaboration between school districts, nonprofit organizations, and a managed care plan that addresses mental health needs of youth in the communities that we serve and gives them tools to develop resilience, regardless of insurance eligibility.”

Youth served in the BlueSky program reflect the diversity of California’s student population, with more than 50% of referred youth identifying as Latino and more than 12% identifying as African American. The program focuses on three protective factors that have been identified by the Center for Study of Social Policy as key for youth well-being: emotional competence, social connections, and concrete support to address basic economic needs and provide services for food, shelter, clothing, and health care. 

This is the second year in a row that the health plan has won a major award from the California Department of Health Care Services. In 2020, Blue Shield Promise won the department’s Innovation Award for its Neighborhood Health Dashboard, a free, public online tool that uses data intelligence from dozens of sources to create a comprehensive picture of a community’s health, including social-risk factors, health outcomes, environmental and economic health conditions, and preventive healthcare programs. 

About Blue Shield of California Promise Health Plan 

Blue Shield of California Promise Health Plan is a managed-care organization, wholly owned by Blue Shield of California, offering Medi-Cal and Cal MediConnect for its 400,000 members in Los Angeles and San Diego counties. It is led by healthcare professionals with a “members-first” philosophy and is committed to building a quality network of providers and collaborating with community organizations to serve its diverse membership. For more information about Blue Shield of California Promise Health Plan, please visit For more news about Blue Shield of California, please visit Or follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook.