The Cigna Foundation today announced a $100,000 World of Difference
grant to Community Solutions to improve the health and sense of security
for residents living in Northeast Hartford. This community exemplifies
the disparities in health and economic status in impoverished urban
neighborhoods. A recent study demonstrated that life expectancy in this
neighborhood is 10 years shorter than other nearby communities.*
The grant will support Community Solutions as the organization works
with a broad base of local partners and residents to improve economic
security, education and neighborhood safety. Research from the Robert
Wood Johnson Foundation (http://www.commissiononhealth.org/Event.aspx?event=66288)
shows that these social determinants of health are often the root cause
of illness and disease.
In addition to the grant, Cigna's professional staff is committing
countless hours to Community Solutions to help improve life for
Northeast Hartford residents.
"Through working with our partners in Northeast Hartford, Cigna will
leverage our health improvement capabilities to help an underserved
population right in our backyard," said Chris Hocevar, a business leader
at Cigna. "We hope this program will be a model for innovation to
coordinate services that can benefit other communities around the
A primary goal of Community Solutions' work is to improve access to
social and health services among Northeast Hartford's residents,
resulting in better management of chronic conditions and less reliance
on costly hospital emergency room services. Community Solutions used a
neighborhood-based care coordination program to focus on the most
frequent users of emergency hospital services. When the program was
piloted recently, a social worker visited residents to identify and
address the causes of people's high emergency service use. The pilot
aligned with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's findings that poor
health status and high emergency room use often stem from issues related
to the social determinnts of health. Data from the first set of 12
program participants indicated a significant reduction in visits to the
emergency room at St. Francis Hospital and in significant health cost
savings for those residents.
"Healthy neighborhoods depend on access to good medical care, but just
as important, residents need quality housing, opportunities for work,
good schools, and safe places for children to play. Cigna sees this
bigger picture, and we are enormously grateful for their investment to
partner with us in improving the health of the Northeast neighborhood,"
said Community Solutions President Rosanne Haggerty.
The Cigna grant will enable Community Solutions to involve a variety of
stakeholders in solving local problems and creating health care
strategies. Cigna's health team - all volunteers who are
enthusiastically committed to the initiative - will work with Community
Solutions to provide extensive support, including creating a
neighborhood health risk assessment, conducting data analysis and
developing a coaching, mentoring, and vocational rehabilitation model.
The Community Solutions team also will rally local hospitals, agencies
and resident groups - using aggregate data and public health organizing
techniques - to identify the most high-cost and at-risk health care
users in the system and then use a financial, social and life skills
model to help neighborhood residents improve their lives and reduce
health care costs.
"Health equity is a primary focus for the Cigna Foundation as we strive
to remove barriers so all people can lead healthy, secure lives," said
David Figliuzzi, executive director, Cigna Foundation. "We're passionate
about building powerful partnerships that fully involve the Cigna team
and enable us to work together toward meaningful, sustainable change."
The grant is the latest in Cigna Foundation's support for improving
children's wellness, senior care, women's health and health equity -
which represent the four social priorities for Cigna's corporate
responsibility platform known as Cigna Connects.
*The 2012 Hartford Health Equity index ranked the area number one in
highest levels of potential years of life lost in the city.
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 85 million customer relationships
throughout the world. To learn more about Cigna®, including links to
follow us on Facebook or Twitter, visit www.cigna.com.
About Community Solutions
Community Solutions is a national non-profit organization that uses
existing resources to help communities solve the social problems facing
their most vulnerable neighbors. Most recently, the organization
coordinated the highly successful 100,000 Homes Campaign, a national
movement of communities that moved more than 100,000 chronically
homeless Americans into permanent housing between 2010 and 2014, saving
taxpayers an estimated $1.3 billion. Community Solutions also
coordinates the Brownsville Partnership, a neighborhood-based effort to
improve health and employment prospects in one of Brooklyn's most
struggling neighborhoods. Led by MacArthur Fellow and Hartford native,
Rosanne Haggerty, the organization also consults internationally on
homelessness and poverty.
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