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Diversity In Action

Aetna adds techs to address changes in healthcare

Aetna looks for new grads to help leverage technology for business. Internship and leadership programs are open to CIS, IS and engineering students and grads


As healthcare and the insurance to pay for it change, Aetna is adding new technology professionals.

“Our company is working to change the healthcare paradigm of today,” says chief diversity officer Grace Figueredo. “We leverage technology to make healthcare more accessible and affordable. This is an incredibly exciting time for healthcare as an industry.”

The acquisition of Coventry Health Care made Aetna the third-largest healthcare benefits company in the country. It now serves 22 million people with medical, dental and pharmacy benefits. More than a million medical professionals are in its networks, including over 600,000 primary care doctors and specialists and 5,400 hospitals.

Services as well as insurance
Insurance isn’t its only product. Aetna offers services to control employee benefit costs and improve health as well as healthcare. Case management, disease management and patient safety programs are part of the mix, and medical, dental, pharmaceutical, behavioral health and disability information is available directly from Aetna’s website. Members have access to convenient tools and easy-to-understand information that can help them make better-informed decisions about their health and financial well-being.

Aetna’s CarePass platform, an open digital platform launched in 2012, makes healthcare more convenient by allowing consumers to share information across participating mobile applications. It’s open to all, not just Aetna members. The company will continue to add useful apps to the platform across fitness, nutritional, behavioral, pharmaceutical and other key health categories.

More techs needed for new services
The company’s data-driven approach means that 40 percent of new positions will be filled by IT professionals or candidates who have strong IT skill sets. To attract the talented early-career professionals the company needs, Aetna’s internship programs have been expanded 62 percent to more than 160 students in 2013. “We expect continued growth in the future, in addition to more leadership training programs for new grads,” says Mark Simone, head of university relations. The program runs from May through August; students can intern any time after freshman year. “To apply, just go to aetna.com, search for requisition 13587BR and submit a resume to ‘2014 summer undergraduate internship program,’” Simone says.

Aetna offers corporate housing assistance to interns who are not local residents. Applicants from all IT programs and majors are encouraged to apply. Internships are available in major cities: Hartford, Dallas, Denver, Jacksonville, New York City, Phoenix and more.

The IT leadership development program is a rotational program for new graduates in CS, MIS, engineering, business-related disciplines or the sciences. Over three years, participants get experience in infrastructure and networking, application development, IT architecture, software testing, database management, project management and strategic planning.

A new yearlong post-graduate internship looks for mathematics or engineering majors who use their knowledge of data modeling to optimize Aetna’s business. This program began in 2012 with three interns, expanded to twenty and is looking to add another twenty in the coming year.

“Quantitative analysis is a not a traditional role for healthcare companies,” says Simone, but it has become an important one. “People with the right skill sets and experience can be placed directly in the interview process.”

The focus on technology comes from top corporate leadership. CEO Mark Bertolini, Simone notes, is one of the few corporate leaders who has a Twitter account and posts his own tweets.

Leading diversity from the top
Aetna’s commitment culture and its alignment to a new business operating model led to the creation of a chief cultural officer position. The current chief cultural officer is Laurie Brubaker, who is part of the executive team and reports directly to the CEO. Brubaker, with twenty-two years of experience at the company and a degree in clinical psychology, seeks input from Aetna’s employee resource groups (ERGs) and leverages insights from employees to write an internal company blog.

Aetna is engaged in community projects across the country. Some are extensive commitments, like a diabetes pilot project with the Medical Clinic of North Texas, while others focus more on art, education and fun, like the Riverfront Dragon Boat and Asian Festival in Hartford, where Aetna is a regular participant.

Many community events get support through Aetna’s ERGs, which focus on the concerns of racial and ethnic minorities as well as LGBT employees, women, veterans, people with disabilities, members of different generations and more. The groups help Aetna’s corporate leadership direct efforts where they’re most needed. Aetna has worked with March of Dimes on many projects; Aetna reps were recently invited to ring the closing bell of the NY Stock Exchange in recognition of their fundraising efforts. Aetna is the only company in its industry, and one of only nine companies overall, that has scored a perfect 100 on the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Corporate Equality index (CEI) each year since the index was created in 2002.

Aetna has produced an African American history calendar for twenty-eight years. The 2013 focus was on nontraditional medicine.

A chance to have an impact
“Once employees come on board, there are many ways for them to develop and grow their careers,” says Figueredo. “There’s a lot of movement within the organization. People become engaged and involved through stretch assignments, cross-sector teams and project work.”

“I want the college population to know that there are more opportunities than they might think at Aetna,” says Simone. “There are many entry points, and many ways to pursue innovation. Their voices are being heard.”

D/C




www.aetna.com

Headquarters: Hartford, CT
Employees: 49,000
Revenues: $34.54 billion (2012)
Business: Health insurance products and related services

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