Newsroom | 24 April 2017

Cigna Foundation Announces Grant to Novant Health Foundation Forsyth Medical Center for Project CARE


Cigna Foundation
Gloria Barone, 215-761-4758

BLOOMFIELD, Conn., 24 April, 2017 - The Cigna Foundation has awarded a $94,800 World of Difference grant to Novant Health Foundation Forsyth Medical Center in Winston-Salem, NC for Project CARE, the Congregational Approach to Risk Reduction and Empowerment. Project CARE will work to lower the incidence of diabetes through comprehensive wellness services and lifestyle modifications to underserved individuals in high-risk areas of the city.

Through a partnership with Winston-Salem State University and the Gateway YWCA, Novant Health will collaborate with African-American congregations in three zip codes (27101, 27105 and 27107), which are home to many low-income, minority residents. Faculty, staff and students at the University have introduced Project CARE to pastors and wellness committees to kick off the program.

“Our grant to Novant Health Foundation Forsyth Medical Center is a shining example of how we support community health navigation, helping to eliminate health disparities in communities nationwide by addressing the needs of the underserved,” said David Figliuzzi, executive director of Cigna Foundation.

Early interviews with Project CARE participants indicate that 85 percent perceive themselves as overweight, 62 percent report no regular physical activity, and 35 percent report a family history of cardiovascular disease. Of the original group of individuals interviewed, only seven percent fell in the normal range of body mass index. Elevated A1C levels indicated that 60 percent have pre-diabetes or diabetes.

The project will enroll approximately 300 individuals at-risk of diabetes in an intensive, 12-week program, which will include weekly group education/exercise sessions, individualized coaching, grocery store tours, cooking classes and access to the Gateway YWCA workout facility. Staff will track participants’ progress at six-month intervals.

Project CARE also will work closely with more than 20 congregations to promote healthy behaviors and share information about health care resources in the community. These congregations number more than 5,000 members, and Project CARE plans to expand its reach by adding congregations and enrolling participants in the comprehensive wellness program in the future.

“Winston-Salem is fortunate to have a range of wellness programs, but most do not offer a comprehensive continuum of services, nor do they provide the means to access those services,” said Novant Health Director of Community Wellness and Education Karen Sigmon-Smith. “Novant Health, Cigna, Winston-Salem State University, the Gateway YWCA and leaders in the faith community comprise the remarkable team that it takes to instill lifelong health behavior change to improve outcomes among our most vulnerable, high-risk neighborhoods.”

Cigna Foundation will announce other Community Health Navigation grants in 2017. For more information on the Cigna Foundation, 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 Novant Health

Novant Health is an integrated network of physician clinics, outpatient facilities and hospitals that delivers a seamless and convenient healthcare experience to communities in Virginia, North and South Carolina, and Georgia. Named in 2016 by Becker’s Hospital Review as one of the nation’s 150 best places to work in healthcare, Novant Health consists of more than 1,380 physicians and nearly 24,000 employees and provides care at 530 locations, including 14 medical centers and hundreds of outpatient facilities and physician clinics. Headquartered in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, the health system serves more than four million patients annually and in 2015 provided more than $706 million in community benefit, including charity care and services. Diversity MBA has recognized the organization as one of the 50 best places for women and managers of diverse background to work. Novant Health provides care in Virginia under the joint operating company, Novant Health UVA Health System.

The mission of Novant Health foundations is to raise awareness and funding to enhance the ability of Novant Health to deliver remarkable medicine and compassionate care.

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