The Aetna Foundation, Children’s Defense Fund Announce New Effort to Eliminate Disparities...

The Aetna Foundation, Children’s Defense Fund Announce New Effort to Eliminate Disparities in Children’s Health


Washington, DC–(HISPANIC PR WIRE – US Newswire)–April 6, 2004–The Aetna Foundation and the Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) today announced a groundbreaking project aimed at identifying and eliminating disparities in health for minority children. The focus on pediatrics is unique — most previous efforts to eliminate health disparities have focused on adults, especially regarding cardiac, cancer and stroke prevention and care. Aetna, a leader in addressing health disparities, has awarded CDF a grant of $225,000 over two years to support the project.

“For Aetna, this is not just a philanthropic issue. It is a central objective for our business,” said Aetna Chairman and CEO, John W. Rowe, M.D. “For the past two years, we have leveraged our information and research capabilities to determine how to best address disparities in our member population. With CDF as our partner, we have a tremendous opportunity to expand these efforts and fully explore the removal of barriers necessary for improving the health status of children.”

The Aetna/CDF project will seek to determine the extent of disparities in health between minority and white children, especially the disparities between minority and white children of similar incomes and/or health insurance status. Working with doctors, nurses, researchers, advocates and others in the health care field, the project will identify the most promising methods of intervention for closing the gaps between groups of children.

“The Children’s Defense Fund is proud to be joining Aetna in combating the racial disparities in children’s health,” said Marian Wright Edelman, president of CDF. “Every child deserves a healthy start in life, but America has not invested the resources or shown the commitment to making sure that minority and poor children have the same access to and standard of care that all other children have. This partnership between the Children’s Defense Fund and Aetna will produce the kind of evidence and concrete steps that can result in the reduction of disparities among children based on race. When racial disparities in children finally disappear, another roadblock to equal opportunity and success will be removed.”

Because the project is the first of its kind to focus on children, it is likely to produce a wealth of valuable new findings on how to address disparities among children at the local level. Project elements will include original analysis of survey data to quantify health disparities, identification and dissemination of best practices, convening of leaders in the field, and development and implementation (especially at the local level) of action plans that incorporate the best practices.

Founded as Aetna’s independent charitable and philanthropic arm more than three decades ago, the Foundation has taken a leadership role in working to address racial and ethnic disparities. In 2003, the company provided nearly $3 million in funding to programs focused primarily on addressing disease prevention and disparities in health.

The mission of the Children’s Defense Fund is to Leave No Child Behind(R) and to ensure every child a Healthy Start, a Head Start, a Fair Start, a Safe Start and a Moral Start in life and successful passage to adulthood with the help of caring families and communities.

Aetna is one of the nation’s leading providers of health care, dental, pharmacy, group life, disability and long-term care benefits, serving approximately 13.0 million medical members, 10.9 million dental members, 7.4 million pharmacy members and 12.3 million group insurance customers, as of December 31, 2003. The company has expansive nationwide networks of more than 600,000 health care services providers, including over 362,000 primary care and specialist physicians and 3,626 hospitals. For more information about Aetna, visit the company’s Web site at



The Children’s Defense Fund

John Norton



The Aetna Foundation

Kate Prout


The Aetna Foundation, Children’s Defense Fund Announce New Effort to Eliminate Disparities in Children’s Health