Bukata Hayes

Bukata Hayes

Vice president

Racial and Health Equity, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota

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In the aftermath of George Floyd’s murder, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota declared racism a public health crisis and began tackling it as such. Last March, the Eagan-based insurer named Bukata Hayes as its first vice president of racial and health equity. A Milwaukee native who spent two decades working on diversity and inclusion efforts in Mankato, Hayes says he’s now working to “embed the racial and health equity vision” throughout Blue Cross Blue Shield. He’s also targeting “place-based partnerships” to improve health outcomes for Minnesotans of color, starting with a pilot program in Brooklyn Center. Those efforts will involve working with cities to ensure that historically underserved residents have adequate access to pharmacies and primary care doctors, among other health services.