Peach State Health Plan Promotes Physical Activity and Leadership Training Through Donation to Girls Empowering Movement

(NORCROSS, GA)— Today, HealthMPowers announced funding support from Peach State Health Plan for Girls Empowering Movement (GEM). The $163,000 commitment, spanning over four years, will support the implementation of new physical activity programming created by girls, for girls and provide sponsorship for the GEM Summit, a three-day leadership training event for girls across Georgia.

The five-year GEM initiative, informed by statewide research and pilot programs led by The Atlanta Falcons Youth Foundation and HealthMPowers, aims to address the gender disparities seen in physical activity levels of Georgia’s children. The levels, measured by FitnessGram® data, show 41 percent of eighth-grade girls in the Healthy Fitness Zone for heart health, compared to 57 percent of boys. The disparity begins to appear in middle school and widens as girls get older. By the 12th grade, only 31 percent of girls have healthy aerobic capacity.

“We could not be more excited to have our own hometown health plan recognize the value of this initiative and make such a substantial investment,” Jennifer Owens, CEO of HealthMPowers, excitedly shared over Peach State joining the initiative.

“Together with Peach State Health Plan, we’re on the front lines, leading the charge with three bold goals in our sights – improve the physical health of young women, implement a preventative mental health approach and build the next generation of women leaders. This program has the potential to change the trend lines for the next generation of young women.”

HealthMPowers, together with statewide partner organizations, Boys and Girls Clubs of Georgia, Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta, Girl Scouts of Historic Georgia and The University of West Georgia are working to create a sustainable statewide GEM program model that can be expanded to other states in the future.

“Peach State Health Plan’s ultimate mission is to improve the health of our communities – one individual at a time. The GEM initiative runs alongside that mission, enabling young ladies to play a role in establishing healthy lifestyle habits for themselves and their peers,” said Wade Rakes, President and CEO of Peach State Health Plan. “We are privileged to be a part of the empowerment of our Georgia youth who will pave the way toward a healthier future for our communities.”

Unlike other physical activity programs, GEM is a girl-led initiative that puts youth voice at the center. The GEM Leadership Team, a diverse group of 14 middle school girls, has worked closely with staff during the last year to design a program that resonates with girls their age. The team collectively decided on the GEM name, provided direction in creating its logo, and have provided valuable insights into all aspects of the program resources. The group announced the program in a video earlier this year.

“GEM is different because it’s designed by middle school girls, for middle school girls,” said Mercy Williams, GEM leader. “With GEM, we’re trying to find ways for girls to be active that allow them to feel comfortable and not be intimidated—like they would be with boys included.”

This year’s GEM Statewide Leadership Summit is being held virtually from June 25-27. More than 240 middle school girls serving as GEM Ambassador Leaders and 120 adult mentors will receive training and tools to create innovative programming for 7,000 girls when the program launches at 120 sites this fall. Ultimately, the GEM program will provide physical activity and leadership opportunities to approximately 18,000 girls across Georgia and motivate almost 200,000 middle school girls to get moving.

For more information about the Girls Empowering Movement (GEM) program, visit

About Peach State Health Plan
Peach State Health Plan is a Care Management Organization that serves the needs of Georgians through a range of health insurance solutions. Peach State Health Plan serves the Medicaid and PeachCare for Kids® population in partnership with Georgia Families. The organization also focuses on under-insured and uninsured individuals through its federal insurance marketplace plan, Ambetter, and its Medicare Advantage Special Needs Plan. Peach State Health Plan is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Centene Corporation, a leading multi-line healthcare enterprise. For more information visit