Blue Cross Blue Shields’ lead consultant for diversity &
inclusion is Guillaume R. Bagal. Bagal comes to BCBSRI from Whitman-Walker Health, a legal and healthcare institute, in
Washington, D.C. In that role, he monitored national and local policy issues impacting
health and wellness of racial, ethnic, and sexual minority populations, and
advocated on a range of LGBTQ and HIV-related policy issues in the District of
Columbia. Bagal has also held roles at the Center for Global Health &
Diplomacy, Avalere Health, and Indiggo Associates, all based in the Washington,
He has served on a number of boards including
the National Institute of Health Community Advisory Board, the D.C. Mayor’s
Office LGBTQ Data Taskforce, and was elected president of the Gay and Lesbian
Activist Alliance (GLAA). In addition, Bagal is a member of the National
Association of Health Services Executives, and the National Capital Healthcare
He is fluent in French, English, and two African
dialects, earned two master’s degrees – one in healthcare administration and
policy from George Mason University and the second in organization sociology
from East Carolina University. He received his bachelor’s degree in biology and
French literature from East Carolina University.
We caught up with Guillaume at his office for
an interview and keyed in on his role in addressing diversity and inclusion.
PA: As the lead consultant for diversity and
inclusion what is the focus of your role?
GB: My role is to
essentially monitor our progress in meeting the needs of and improving health
care in Rhode Island.
PA: What are the
components of that initiative?
GB: The key
things are finding and funding the right people to improve the impact on health
care. WE also need to partner with the right agencies that help us meet the
needs of underserved or underinsured people like Thundermist, NAACP etc.,
making sure we are focused on families first with community involvement being
key in meeting those objectives.
PA: How are you
and BCBSRI meeting the problem of health care access?
GB: BCBSRI has
always been here for Rhode Islanders’ however recently we have introduced our
BCBS Stores around the state. These stores are located in strategic locations
that meet the servicing area of our clients and members. This new initiative
has become a national model for other BCBS around the country.
PA: What are some
of the goals your office faces?
GB: From a health
care stand point we hope to increase the amount of our business particularly
with women and minority owned businesses. We also want to increase business
with organizations that purchase services from a diverse base of businesses.
Internally we hope to improve our techniques in recruiting certain diverse
resources like veterans and interns.
PA: What are the
minority demographics at BCBSRI?
GB: Our organization is comprised of approximately 70 percent women,
and just over 50 percent of individuals in management positions are women. More
than 40 percent of our company’s top leaders – executive vice presidents and
vice presidents – are women. This percentage has more than doubled since 2016,
when Kim Keck became our company’s first female president and chief executive
The percentage of people of color working at
BCBSRI has increased from 14 percent in 2012 to almost 20 percent last quarter.
People of color make up eight percent of individuals in management positions,
double the percentage since 2012.
PA: It sounds as like you have a good base to
work from but you still have your work cut out for you in some of the other
demographics like Latinos, Asians and Native Americans. We wish you success on
behalf of the readership of The
Providence American in meeting
your goals and improving the presence of diversity at all levels of the