Cigna Foundation Announces $100,000 Grant to St. Louis Pediatric Asthma Clinic

  • St. Louis has highest asthma rates in the state of Missouri
  • Healthy Kids Express program run by St. Louis Children’s Hospital
  • March 27 proclaimed Healthy Kids Express Day in St. Louis
  • 250,000 underserved children helped by program so far

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 (
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.

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 90 million customer relationships
throughout the world. To learn more about Cigna®, including links to
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Cigna Foundation
Gloria Barone, 215-761-4758