BLOOMFIELD, Conn. & BRISTOL, Tenn., 31 July, 2017 - The Cigna Foundation today announced a $150,000 World of Difference grant to help Appalachian Miles for Smiles of Kingsport, Tenn. provide quality, no-cost mobile dental care to 4,000 to 4,500 underserved patients in East Tennessee and Southwest Virginia.
The grant will provide funding for the next three years for supplies, tools and medicine required to provide care to patients, to cover the expenses of operating a mobile dental unit, and to assist with the minimum project management and support personnel required for this effort to be successful.
Appalachian Miles for Smiles (AMS) is a five-exam bay, fully equipped and self-contained mobile dental unit assembled by local volunteers that was made possible through collaboration with the United Way of Greater Kingsport, Remote Area Medical, and local businesses. It is operated and managed locally by Friends In Need Health Center, Inc. (FIN) of Kingsport. Bruce Sites, executive director of FIN, said this unit is essential in the region’s effort to improve the dental care and overall health of the residents of this region who have no other affordable alternative. “The entire operation of AMS is made possible by professional and community volunteers and through the excellent support of the Cigna Foundation and other contributors,” he said.
“The Cigna Foundation is honored to support this project, which will address our region’s number one unmet healthcare need: adult dental care. Good oral health is an important factor in overall health and productivity. Mobile care is a way of providing no-cost dental care in remote and rural locations that generally don’t have access to dental care and to people who generally don’t have the personal resources to be able to afford dental care,” said Greg Allen, president of Cigna’s Mid-South market, which includes Tennessee.
Additionally, Cigna donated an 18-wheel trailer to enable Appalachian Miles for Smiles to equip an additional mobile clinic and get it on the road to further serve the area’s dental care needs. The vehicle was formerly known as the Cigna Mobile Learning Lab, a vehicle that Cigna used for several years on cross-country health awareness and education tours. “We are extremely grateful for the grant of $150,000 that will be the foundation on which AMS can extend its reach and service, and for the additional gift of the Cigna trailer that will facilitate delivering this care in greater capacity and efficiency,” Sites said.
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.