By Richard Asinof
PROVIDENCE – Visael “Bobby” Rodriguez was appointed to the position of chief diversity office at Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island, the health insurer announced on Feb. 29.
The newly created position will be responsible for assessing the internal and external environment/culture, developing and implementing strategies to attract, develop, and retain a high performing diverse workforce. He will be leading efforts to address health care disparities to improve the quality of health in lives of Rhode Island’s increasingly diverse residents.
“Language, cultural differences and low health literacy often contribute to inequities in health care for racial or ethnic minorities, particularly related to the treatment of chronic conditions such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease and stroke,” said Eric Gasbarro, vice president of human resources, corporate real estate and administration services at Blue Cross. “We believe that every Rhode Islander deserves access to high quality health care. With Rhode Island’s minority population growing by more than 30 percent between 2000 and 2010, Gasbarro said that Blue Cross felt it was important to create some focus around addressing the increasingly diverse health care needs of the community the health insurer served.