Cigna Foundation Makes Community Health Navigation a U.S. Priority; Announces World of Difference Grant to Emory University, Atlanta

  • Showing health equity in action
  • Giving preference to programs with community health workers
  • Improving Mexican-American, Latino health through Emory program

BLOOMFIELD, Conn.--()--The Cigna Foundation is making Community Health Navigation a priority for its World of Difference grants in the United States, with a special emphasis on the role community health workers play in addressing the health needs of underserved individuals. Prioritizing Community Health Navigation is a natural extension of the Cigna Foundation’s emphasis on health equity, and will enable the Cigna Foundation to strengthen its support of non-profits that help people whose health is worse than the general population’s because of gender, race, place of residence, age or economic status.

As a first step, the Cigna Foundation awarded a $115,468 World of Difference grant to Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health for its program to improve health for Mexican-Americans and Latinos in the Atlanta region. The Cigna Foundation funding will support the development of outreach workers to help this metropolitan community.

“In making a commitment to Community Health Navigation, we’re looking at the ways in which communities support or detract from an individual’s health – and we’re working with organizations that are discovering unique and effective ways to help individuals through community resources,” said David Figliuzzi, executive director of the Cigna Foundation.

Community Health Navigation programs eligible for Cigna Foundation World of Difference grants include those that provide face-to-face community health workers (CHW), a health industry term that refers to trusted advisors within a community who guide people through the complex health care and social service systems. Other Community Health Navigation programs may take the form of establishing community-based health facilities, or creating online resources where people can easily access health information they need. Regardless of the method, the goals of Community Health Navigation programs are the same: to improve access to primary care, reduce emergency room use, lower total medical costs, and improve health and wellness for those in the programs.

“Spotlighting Community Health Navigation demonstrates our understanding that what makes a person healthy or unhealthy often happens outside of the doctor’s office, or traditional health care delivery. We plan to pilot programs that are multi-faceted – collaborating with government, social services and businesses – so we can speed help to those who need it most and create sustainable change in our communities,” Figliuzzi said.

Emory University will use the Cigna Foundation grant to launch the Mexican-American Participatory Assessment (MAPA) Project, which includes a new initiative under the “Ventanilla de Salud-Atlanta (VDSA)” program. As a joint effort between the Mexican Consulate in Atlanta and the Rollins School of Public Health, the VDSA aims to improve the health of Mexican-Americans and Latinos and their families by providing preventive health education, health screenings, and access to culturally appropriate care. The MAPA project will pilot an innovative approach that allows the VDSA to reach a broader audience, while also training at-risk young adults as outreach workers and offering them entry-level employment in health services.

“The Emory program holds great promise for improving health among an underserved population, providing employment opportunities to youth, and uncovering best practices we can use in building healthy communities across the nation,” Figliuzzi said. “We’re excited to watch this work get off the ground, and look forward to the successes ahead.”

The Cigna Foundation’s concentration on Community Health Navigation also is evidenced in work underway in Memphis and Hartford

For more information on the World of Difference grant program and Community Health Navigation, go to

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.

About Cigna

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 89 million customer relationships throughout the world. To learn more about Cigna®, including links to follow us on Facebook or Twitter, visit

About Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University

At the Rollins School of Public Health, students learn to identify, analyze, and intervene in today's most pressing public health issues. The school's location in Atlanta, referred to as the "Public Health Capital of the World," also is home to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; CARE; the national home office of the American Cancer Society; The Carter Center; the Arthritis Foundation; numerous state and regional health agencies; and the patient care, teaching, and health-related research programs of Emory University's Woodruff Health Sciences Center. This setting is ideal for hands-on research, collaborations with the world's leading public health agencies, and interdisciplinary work with national and international organizations. The school comprises six academic departments: behavioral sciences and health education, biostatistics, environmental health, epidemiology, health policy and management, global health, and hosts over two dozen interdisciplinary centers.


Cigna Foundation
Gloria Barone, 215-761-4758

Release Summary

The Cigna Foundation announced its giving priorities in and outside the United States, marked by World of Difference grants to Emory University in Atlanta and Ashoka for work in India.


Cigna Foundation
Gloria Barone, 215-761-4758