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Letter from the President

As Tennesseans, we have much to celebrate.

We live in a state long revered for its history and now making headlines for technology and health care innovation. Ours is a welcoming, growing economy attracting new businesses, manufacturers and fresh entrepreneurial perspectives to our communities.

We’re 42,000 square miles of river-fed delta, rolling farmlands and smoke-blue mountain vistas that anchor us to our roots while drawing thousands of new residents here each year.

We’re proud of our independence, known for our volunteer spirit, and have reason to celebrate practically every aspect of our people and environment.

Except our individual and collective health.

Because when it comes to Tennessee’s population health status, we consistently rank as one of the least healthy states in the country. According to the Governor’s Foundation for Health and Wellness:

  • Type 2 diabetes and hypertension are at near-epidemic levels.
  • 35 percent of Tennesseans are overweight.
  • More than 37 percent of Tennesseans report getting no physical activity.

And poor physical health — when combined with other socioeconomic issues – can have devastating effects on our families, neighborhoods and communities.

We can do better.

We are doing better, inching up slowly in the rankings. But we need to do more.

We need to acknowledge and celebrate what’s being done to improve the health of Tennesseans, starting with the success of the people and organizations highlighted in this inaugural issue of Better Tennessee.

Through our BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Health Foundation, Community Trust and corporate gifts, we gave $14 million in 2014 to improve health and enhance the quality of life of millions of Tennesseans.

Through this publication, we’re sharing the stories of people, programs and organizations that are making a difference — making an improvement — in the health of our state.

By exploring the health issues we face – including obesity, infant mortality and access to care, among others — we’re highlighting positive, practical solutions for creating better communities in our state.

Our mission is Peace of Mind through Better Health.

Let’s celebrate a better Tennessee, with better health for all of our state’s residents.


Bill Gracey
President and CEO
BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee

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