Clarita Santos is the Executive Director of Community Health Initiatives at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois (BCBSIL). In this role, she oversees BCBSIL’s statewide community engagement, including the launch of the Blue Door Neighborhood Center, the company’s first community-based health and wellness center. For more than ten years, she has lead the allocation of grant funding to BCBSIL’s community partners to help increase access to care, improve population health and improve health equity among the uninsured and under-insured in Illinois.
Clarita is well-respected in the community for her many contributions to help improve community health. She has been honored with several awards for her work including the Breaking Barriers Award by the Chicago Foundation for Women’s Asian American Leadership Council, which recognizes Asian and Asian American women leaders who’ve made outstanding and lasting impacts in the fields of health and wellness. Santos has also been recognized as one of Diversity MBA magazine’s Top 100 Under 50 Emerging and Executive Leaders for 2015 and was named the Illinois Department of Public Health’s “Illinois Public Health Champion of Change” honoree in 2015.
Santos received her master’s degree in Public Health in Health Policy and Administration from the University of Illinois at Chicago and her bachelor’s degree in Biology from the College of Charleston. She and her husband, Steve Merritt are the proud parents of two children – Lily and Ian.