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Blue Cross Blue Shield appoints two new directors

BOSTON — The Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation has appointed Owen Heleen as senior director of grantmaking, and Anna Gosline as director of policy and research.
Heleen has served for more than a decade with The Rhode Island Foundation, most recently as vice president for Grant Programs, and Gosline has been project manager for an examination of Vermont’s health care system that culminated in recommendations for comprehensive, “single-payer” health reform.
Heleen assumes a newly-created role focused on ensuring that the foundation’s grant investments produce long-term measurable benefits for low-income and vulnerable residents of Massachusetts and the community organizations that serve them.
He will oversee all of the foundation’s grantmaking and lead the development of a new grants program that will fund innovative approaches to making health care more affordable. Gosline will be responsible for managing the foundation’s policy work related to affordability, which will include in-depth research on the burden of rapidly rising health care costs, especially on low-income and vulnerable populations, and a process designed to uncover, and gain community-wide support for sustainable solutions.
Sarah Iselin, president of the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation, said the appointments will “round out an extraordinarily strong and experienced team” and enhance the organization’s new strategic focus on affordability.
“The rising cost of health care is an intractable problem that will require broad community engagement to solve,” she said. “Building on a decade of work in support of expanded coverage, and working in collaboration with our many community partners, we want the foundation to be a catalyst for innovative and lasting solutions. Having Owen and Anna on board will give us a huge head start.”
As vice president for grant programs, Heleen has been responsible for the overall strategic direction of The Rhode Island Foundation’s grantmaking, which totaled $29 million in 2010, and he designed and implemented a new approach to evaluating and communicating the impact of discretionary grants.
He has directed the foundation’s grantmaking and community leadership activities in the health sector, and was responsible for policy initiatives related to health insurance reform and building primary care capacity.
Heleen has also managed The Rhode Island Foundation's relationships with national foundations, including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Prior to his foundation work, he created and directed a development office for the Providence Schools Department.
For the past year, Gosline has been project manager for a team of economists, political scientists, and public health specialists, led by Harvard School of Public Health economics professor William Hsiao, that was commissioned by the Vermont legislature to conduct a detailed examination of the state’s health care system and develop options for “single-payer” health reform.
She managed the project’s budget, personnel, commun-ications, and external relationships, including extensive stakeholder interactions, public presentations, and the public comment period after the release of the draft report.
While gaining a master of science degree in health policy and management at the Harvard School of Public Health, she worked with the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, the Massachusetts Division of Health Care Finance and Policy, and Community Catalyst on an array of projects related to health care access, cost containment, delivery system reform, and racial and ethnic health disparities.
The Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation is a private, independently governed, non-profit organization founded in 2001 with a mission to expand access to health care for low-income and vulnerable residents of Massachusetts.
In 2010, the foundation awarded $3.5 million in grants to more than 100 different non-profit organizations and has awarded nearly $38 million in grants over its first 10 years.
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