As part of its support for the Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial Project, Aetna (NYSE: AET) announced today that it has created a national recognition campaign called “Aetna Voices of Health.” The campaign will honor organizations that promote King’s vision of racial equality and individual empowerment, while also sharing Aetna’s goals of closing racial and ethnic health care quality gaps and helping people live healthier lives.
Aetna has nominated 35 organizations from across the country that exemplify these qualities. From Aug. 28 through Oct. 8, these groups will participate in an on-line competition for one of three national awards. Aetna will donate $25,000 to the organization receiving the most on-line votes; $15,000 to the second-place finisher; and $10,000 to the third-place finisher. Starting Aug. 28, go to www.aetnavoicesofhealth.com for information about the nominees and the voting process.
Earlier this spring, Aetna announced its donation of $1.275 million to support the Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial Project. A portion of Aetna’s gift will assist in the planting of 180 new cherry trees at the Memorial site on the National Mall. The memorial dedication ceremony will take place Aug. 28.
“Dr. King spent his life fighting for people to have the right to determine the paths of their own lives, and the ability to freely pursue their own dreams without obstruction,” said Mark T. Bertolini, Aetna chairman, CEO and president. “He also recognized that injustice in health care was perhaps the most shocking and inhumane form of inequality people faced.”
Aetna this year is marking 10 years of actively targeting and addressing racial and ethnic disparities in health care. The company was the first insurer to invite its members to voluntarily share racial and ethnic information. Millions of people have participated. The information has helped Aetna better understand how different communities are being served by the health care system, and, in turn, design programs to address disparities.
The “Aetna Voices of Health” campaign will honor people who also are working to close those gaps, and to promote wellness in communities fighting conditions like asthma, diabetes and childhood obesity, all of which hit people of color at higher rates than the overall population.
“People say that health care is local, and it is in our local communities that the battles against disparity must be fought,” said Floyd W. Green, Aetna’s head of Community Relations. “The organizations contending for the Aetna Voices of Health awards are heroes in their cities and towns. Aetna already supports many of their efforts through our philanthropic giving, and we’re excited to participate in their next endeavors.”
The following is a list of the nominated organizations by region.
Atlanta – Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta; Center Helping Obesity In Children End Successfully Inc.; Ryan Cameron Foundation.
Chicago – Centro Communitaro Juan Diego; Community Health NFP; Erie Family Health Center.
Connecticut/New York/New Jersey – Malta House of Care Foundation Inc.; Berean Community and Family Life Center; Hispanic Federation; Citizens Committee for New York City; Foundation of University of Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey.
Dallas – Community Council of Greater Dallas; Dallas-Fort Worth Business Group on Health; The Concilio.
Houston – Houston Area Urban League Inc.; Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce; YMCA of Greater Houston Area, Fort Bend Center.
Jacksonville – Community Connections of Jacksonville Inc.; American Diabetes Association; Volunteers in Medicine-Jacksonville.
Miami – Hispanic Unity of Florida Inc.; Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition of Palm Beach County Inc.; Amigos Together For Kids Inc.
Philadelphia – Congreso de Latinos Unidos Inc.; Penn Asian Senior Services; The Carl and Emily Weller Center for Health Education.
Phoenix – Boys & Girls Clubs of Metropolitan Phoenix; Tucson Medical Center; Cesar E. Chavez Foundation.
Southern California – National Coalition of Ethnic Minority Nurse Associations Inc.; Black Chamber of Commerce of Orange County; California Black Women’s Health Project.
Washington, D.C. – Institute for the Advancement of Multicultural and Minority Medicine; Family Life Foundation; Robert T. Freeman Dental Society Foundation Inc.
About the Washington, D.C. Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial Project Foundation, Inc.
A Memorial honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is being built on the National Mall, situated adjacent to the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial and in a direct line between the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials. Congress passed Joint Resolutions in 1996 authorizing Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. to establish a Memorial in Washington, D.C. honoring Dr. King. The ceremonial groundbreaking took place on Nov. 13, 2006, and the Memorial will be completed in 2011. McKissack & McKissack, Turner Construction Company, Tompkins Builders, Inc., and Gilford Corporation Joint Venture serves as the design-build team. For more information or to make a donation, please visit www.buildthedream.org.
Aetna is one of the nation’s leading diversified health care benefits companies, serving approximately 36.5 million people with information and resources to help them make better informed decisions about their health care. Aetna offers a broad range of traditional, voluntary and consumer-directed health insurance products and related services, including medical, pharmacy, dental, behavioral health, group life and disability plans, and medical management capabilities and health care management services for Medicaid plans. Our customers include employer groups, individuals, college students, part-time and hourly workers, health plans, governmental units, government-sponsored plans, labor groups and expatriates. For more information, see www.aetna.com.