My Lifetime Story: Taking Steps Towards Health Equity

As part of Melissa Klinko’s professional development, she was able to enroll in an online Harvard business course, fully sponsored by Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, that specifically focused on addressing and reducing health care disparities. Little did she know that this experience would open her eyes to the underlying causes of these disparities and provide her with real-world examples and case studies.

Melissa Klinko is a corporate communications manager for Excellus BlueCross BlueShield

My New Perspective 

 During the course, Melissa gained a new perspective on healthcare and realized the impact of unconscious biases. It was a moment of self-reflection when she recognized that she had assumed the doctor she was seeing was Asian based solely on her last name. However, upon meeting her, she discovered her assumption was incorrect. This incident made her acutely aware of the unconscious biases we all carry and the importance of addressing them to provide equitable care to all individuals.

Melissa’s awareness of disparities in healthcare was further heightened by her brother’s experience. As an adoptee from Korea, he often faces the expectation that he should be able to speak Korean. This expectation becomes frustrating, especially in certain situations. Language barriers are one of the biggest obstacles in healthcare, leading to a lack of care and confusion regarding medications and next steps in treatment. This realization solidified her belief that health equity is crucial in bridging these disparities.

Recognizing and Educating

 By recognizing and addressing systemic racism and biases, we can ensure that everyone receives the care they deserve. It is through educational opportunities like the Harvard Business course, that we can contribute to closing the gaps in healthcare.

Melissa shared that one of the most intriguing aspects of the course was learning about the Kotter method, which helps identify organizational gaps and needs. This method helps to create a vision for change and implement an executable strategy to reduce disparities. Additionally, the course emphasized the importance of collecting and analyzing data unique to underserved populations. By utilizing this data, we can effectively inform and drive meaningful change.

“I am grateful to work for a company that values health equity and actively supports its employees in recognizing disparities in healthcare and education. By providing resources and fostering awareness, our company ensures that we are aware of how situations are perceived and how we can contribute to making a positive difference.”

We Care About Health Equity

 Melissa’s experience sheds light on how Excellus BCBS goes above and beyond in fostering a culture of continuous learning and support for their employees.

Are you interested in joining the Excellus BCBS team?

We have the right fit for you. Positions are available in many departments including Customer Care, Operational Excellence, Marketing and Sales, Information Technology, and more. Check us out at Get to know our people and our values, and grow your relationship with us.  For more information, reach out to Director of Talent Acquisition Jason Helsdon at