DENVER, September 29, 2015 - Clínica Tepeyac, a leading safety-net clinic that provides medical services to underserved patients in metro Denver, has received a $15,000 grant from the Cigna Foundation to expand its diabetes management and prevention programs. These programs target uninsured and under-insured Hispanics who are diagnosed with, or at risk for the disease. The grant will also give Clínica Tepeyac members access to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Diabetes Prevention Program.
The experience of Maria Flores, who was diagnosed as pre-diabetic in her 40's and turned her health around through Clínica Tepeyac's exercise and nutrition programs, illustrates the value of diabetes prevention efforts. "Maria is determined to avoid the disease that killed her mother at age 60," said Jim Garcia, founder and CEO of Clínica Tepeyac. "She attends Clínica's exercise classes three times each week and has made positive changes to her diet. She went from 260 pounds to a healthier, more muscular 160."
Maria said Clínica Tepeyac has changed her life. "I think about what I eat, and doing my exercise, and not stopping," she said. "Five years ago, I didn't think I could exercise. I just didn't think that was for me - because of my age, the fact that I had a lot of children and I was overweight."
The clinic's diabetes prevention programs uses promotoras (community members who receive training to provide health education) to call individuals identified to be pre-diabetic. The individuals are invited to participate in an exercise program, led by a Latina personal trainer, which prepares them for an annual 5k run. Nutrition classes offered in Spanish take place before and after exercise sessions at a gym located near Clínica Tepeyac. These classes focus on the benefits of eating fresh fruits and vegetables while cutting back on excess sugar, salt and fat.
"We believe all people should have access to tools that allow them to lead healthier lives," said David Figliuzzi, executive director of the Cigna Foundation. "We're proud to support Clínica Tepeyac's efforts to help pre-diabetics and those with diabetes get the care and resources they need to better manage their condition."
Hispanics are almost twice as likely as non-Hispanic whites to be diagnosed with diabetes. According to the CDC, they also have higher rates of end-stage renal disease caused by diabetes, and they are 40 percent more likely to die from diabetes as non-Hispanic whites. Unfortunately, Latino patients with diabetes often delay getting treatment due to being uninsured or undocumented, so their symptoms and prognosis are worse.
"We are thrilled to partner with Jim Garcia and his team at Clínica Tepeyac. They have made the important connection between education and care that is culturally sensitive and focused on the whole person, which aligns with Cigna's approach," said Jim Holder, senior vice president for Cigna's Mountain States Region. "Working together with Clínica, we will gain valuable insights that will help us better serve our customers, here in Denver and throughout the Mountain States."
Cigna's efforts to improve the health of the Hispanic community extend beyond its work with Clínica Tepeyac. Last year Cigna's Hispanic Colleague Resource Group (CRG), which tackles health care challenges among Hispanics using insights from Cigna employees, created a Bienestar white paper addressing disparate health outcomes in the Hispanic community. The paper received a Gold Hermes Award from the Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals.
About Clínica Tepeyac
Founded in 1994 to provide affordable health care to the medically underserved, Clínica Tepeyac is a family practice clinic that serves patients throughout the Denver Metro Area with two locations in the historic Globeville neighborhood, and the Elyria/Swansea Neighborhoods in north Denver. Clínica Tepeyac offers a wide range of culturally responsive programs for children and adults including: prenatal care, chronic disease management, immunizations and exercise classes. For more information, visit www.clinicatepeyac.org or call 303-458-5402.
About the Cigna Foundation
The Cigna Foundation 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 89 million customer relationships throughout the world. To learn more about Cigna®, including links to follow us on Facebook or Twitter, visit www.cigna.com.