ST. LOUIS & BLOOMFIELD, Conn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Cigna Foundation today announced a $100,000 grant to the St. Louis Children’s Hospital Foundation for Healthy Kids Express – Asthma program (HKEA), the St. Louis Children’s Hospital free pediatric mobile asthma program. The announcement was made as part of Healthy Kids Express Day in St. Louis, held at the Nance Elementary School, 8959 Riverview Blvd., celebrating the 250,000th child served since the program began in 2000. Community and political leaders throughout St. Louis, including Mayor Francis Slay, helped commemorate the milestone.
Asthma is the leading chronic health condition affecting minority children in St. Louis, who suffer from asthma at double the rate of the rest of Missouri. “The St. Louis region has been ranked the worst area in the state for asthma, with the majority of poorly controlled childhood asthma occurring in those living in medically underserved communities. Cigna and the Cigna Foundation care about disparities in health care quality and access, and we are honored to play a part in keeping the Healthy Kids Express vans in the schools of St. Louis to provide health service at no cost to those in need,” said Dr. Jack Davidson, medical senior director for Cigna based in St. Louis.
A Missouri Dept. of Health & Senior Services (MDHSS) report shows that African-American children in St. Louis are nine times more likely than white children to visit an emergency room (ER) because of asthma, and five times more likely to be hospitalized (http://health.mo.gov/). Many parents who do not have access to asthma medication for their children use the ER for primary care when asthma attacks.
The HKEA program identifies and assists asthmatic children in St. Louis who are undiagnosed or untreated for asthma. HKEA is free for the children in need, and its multipronged approach helps ensure children who are diagnosed with asthma receive disease self-care education, support, and necessary medical supplies to promote wellness and prevent asthma attacks. The program has been recognized as a successful intervention for children in highly-distressed, urban areas identified by the Ferguson Commission For the Sake of All report.
The Cigna Foundation grant will make it possible for HKEA to continue using two asthma educators and coaches for the program. Interventions by HKEA staff include personalized monthly visits, asthma-related health education and medication technique checks, asthma education classes for students and families, free asthma equipment and supplies, personalized asthma action plans, visits with a St. Louis Children’s Hospital pulmonologist as necessary, and connections to primary care physicians.
“HKEA provides direct preventive services while guiding families through complex health care and social support systems, a model that we know can work wonders in a community,” said David Figliuzzi, executive director of the Cigna Foundation. “The program has reduced school absenteeism, ER visits and hospitalizations while allowing children to develop fully in social, physical and academic areas.”
About the Cigna Foundation
The Cigna Foundation, founded in 1962, is a private foundation funded by contributions from Cigna Corporation (NYSE: CI) and its subsidiaries. The Cigna Foundation supports organizations sharing its commitment to enhancing the health of individuals and families, and the well-being of their communities, with a special focus on those communities where Cigna employees live and work.
Cigna Corporation (NYSE: CI) is a global health service company dedicated to helping people improve their health, well-being and sense of security. All products and services are provided exclusively by or through operating subsidiaries of Cigna Corporation, including Connecticut General Life Insurance Company, Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company, Life Insurance Company of North America and Cigna Life Insurance Company of New York. Such products and services include an integrated suite of health services, such as medical, dental, behavioral health, pharmacy, vision, supplemental benefits, and other related products including group life, accident and disability insurance. Cigna maintains sales capability in 30 countries and jurisdictions, and has more than 90 million customer relationships throughout the world. To learn more about Cigna®, including links to follow us on Facebook or Twitter, visit www.cigna.com.