The Cigna Foundation today declared 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 declaration was made as part of Healthy Kids Express Day in St. Louis, arranged at the Nance Elementary School, 8959 Riverview Blvd., celebrating the 250,000th child served since the program began in the year of 2000. Community and political leaders throughout St. Louis, involving Mayor Francis Slay, helped commemorate the milestone.
Asthma is the emerging chronic health condition affecting minority kids 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 place 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’re glad to play a part in keeping the Healthy Kids Express vans in the schools of St. Louis to give health service at no cost to those in need,” stated Dr. Jack Davidson, medical senior director for Cigna based in St. Louis.
A Missouri Dept. of Health & Senior Services (MDHSS) report indicates that African-American kids in St. Louis are 9 times more likely than white children to visit an emergency room (ER) due to the asthma, and 5 times more likely to be hospitalized (http://health.mo.gov/). Many parents who don’t have access to asthma medication for their children use the ER for primary care when asthma attacks.
The HKEA program identifies and helps asthmatic kids in St. Louis who are undiagnosed or untreated for asthma. HKEA is free for the kids in need, and its multipronged approach assists to ensure children who are diagnosed with asthma get disease self-care education, support, and important medical supplies to promote wellness and stop asthma attacks. The program has been recognized as a victorious intervention for kids in highly-distressed, urban areas identified by the Ferguson Commission For the Sake of All report.
The grant of Cigna Foundation will make it possible for HKEA to sustain using 2 asthma educators and coaches for the program. Interventions by HKEA staff involve 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 policies, visits with a St. Louis Children’s Hospital pulmonologist as essential, and connections to primary care physicians.
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