Monday, Feb 12, 2024 | 12:00 AM ET

S4 E39: Empowering Communities to Own Their Health—featuring Kristen Cerf

How do you inspire a community to take ownership of their health?

If you ask Kristen Cerf, the secret lies in hiring staff from the community you serve and connecting people with the resources they need to improve their health.

Kristen is President and CEO of Blue Shield of California Promise Health Plan, where she is responsible for ensuring access to quality care for Blue Shield Promise’s 530,000 Medi-Cal members in Los Angeles and San Diego counties.

Under Kristen’s guidance, Blue Shield Promise has delivered several initiatives improving access to and availability of person-centered care to California's underinsured, low income and medically underserved populations.

On this episode of HLTH Matters, Kristen joins host Dr. Jessica Shepherd to discuss the future of grassroots efforts to promote health care in the community.

Kristen explains how Blue Shield Promise helps members navigate the complexities of the Medi-Cal system, leveraging community health advocates to build health literacy and improve patient outcomes.

Listen in for insight using data to provide support based on need and learn how Kristen’s team works with providers, community-based organizations and other nonprofits to better serve Blue Shield Promise members.

Topics Covered

  • How being a nonprofit organization benefits Blue Shield of California Promise Health Plan
  • Why a grassroots approach inspires communities to take ownership of their health
  • How Blue Shield Promise helps members navigate the complexities of the Medi-Cal system
  • How Blue Shield Promise’s community health advocates work with providers to improve outcomes
  • Why so few grassroots community health programs exist in the US
  • How Kristen’s team uses data to deliver support based on need
  • How Kristen thinks about translating information obtained from Blue Shield Promise members into data 
  • How Kristen’s team gets feedback from providers re: Blue Shield Promise patient outcomes
  • Why Kristen sites the Blue Shield Promise street medicine program among her greatest accomplishments

Connect with Kristen Cerf

Connect with Dr. Jessica Shepherd & Dr. Gautam Gulati



Kristen CerfPresident and Chief Executive Officer, Blue Shield of California Promise Health Plan

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