Cigna Foundation Gives World of Difference Grant to El Centro de Corazón, Addressing Health Disparities for Women in Houston’s East End

  • Improving health for underserved women
  • Guiding Latino women to health care access, education
  • Offering prenatal programs, cancer screenings, other treatments

Cigna Foundation
has awarded a $100,000 World of Difference grant to El
Centro de Corazón
to help improve health for Latino women living in
the East End of Houston, where medical, dental and mental health
professionals are in short supply. The East End, also known as the
Ripley Medically Underserved Area, is a neighborhood whose residents are
predominately Hispanic, low-income and uninsured, and who suffer from
increased rates of diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure and
depression, late-entry into prenatal care, and a lack of timely
immunizations. The grant will be announced at El Centro’s community baby
shower this morning.

“We’re excited to have found a strong partner in El Centro as we work
together to improve women’s health for underserved women in need of
primary care, women’s health, dental care, and behavioral health
services,” said Mike Koehler, market president for Cigna in South Texas.
“The Cigna Foundation grant will enable El Centro to provide breast and
cervical cancer screenings, screening and treatment for high blood
pressure and diabetes, and prenatal medical services.”

According to El Centro, a community-based health center, their female
patients report one or more barriers in accessing health care. These
obstacles include not having a personal doctor, relying on emergency
rooms for most care, and difficulties in obtaining medical, dental care
and prescriptions due to cost or lack of insurance.

“Through our collaboration, El Centro will offer prenatal classes for
low-income women, as well as other women’s health education, to prevent
illness and disease. Together, El Centro and Cigna will help women in
the East End community navigate the health system and lead healthier
lives,” said David Figliuzzi, executive director of the Cigna Foundation.

“El Centro de Corazón is appreciative of the opportunity to partner with
Cigna to address the health care needs of women in Houston’s East End.
Cigna’s commitment to support El Centro’s Women’s Health Program
indicates its recognition of the benefit to deliver high quality
healthcare in the community to improve maternal and child health
outcomes,” said Marcie Mir, CEO for El Centro de Corazón.

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

About El Centro de Corazón

El Centro de Corazón is a community-based Federally Qualified Health
Center (FQHC) which provides comprehensive health care services for
Houston’s East End community, one of the poorest areas in the city. The
predominantly Hispanic population in the East End is impoverished, with
97% of El Centro’s patient living at/or below 200% of the Federal
Poverty Level. Since being deemed a Federally Qualified Health Center
(FQHC) in 2003, El Centro has provided over 250,000 patient visits. El
Centro provides adult and pediatric primary care, women’s health care,
dental and behavioral health services through its three health centers.
El Centro’s mission is to promote the individual, community, and social
health of the East End and the greater Houston area. To learn more about
El Centro de Corazón, please visit


Cigna Foundation
Gloria Barone, 215-761-4758