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St. Vincent Healthcare Foundation received a $100,000 grant from Cigna Foundation to help improve the health outcomes of Native American women and babies through increased access to early prenatal care, drug education and intervention when needed. The grant addresses drug addiction that has reached into Native American communities.

Previously, the Cigna Foundation provided grant funding to the St. Vincent Healthcare Foundation to support an American Indian Health Disparities Coordinator who serves as a community health worker. St. Vincent chose Kassie Runsabove, a Native American, for this role to work as an advocate and cultural liaison, and to be responsible for implementing projects to identify and reduce health disparities.

According to a news release from St. Vincent Healthcare, the new Cigna Foundation grant provides an additional year of funding to help St. Vincent further its mission to improve the cultural competency skills of maternal health care providers, and to work with tribal community partners to provide prenatal education on healthy nutrition, stress management and other healthy lifestyle topics.

The St. Vincent program is expected to result in measurable outcomes, including:

  • Earlier access to prenatal care with the goal of improving birth weights.
  • Increased participation at prenatal clinics at St. Vincent Healthcare’s Midwifery and Women’s Health Center, the midwifery clinic on the Northern Cheyenne Reservation, and at the health care facilities of community partners including Indian Health Services.
  • Decreased numbers of NICU admissions.
  • Decreased numbers of babies born prematurely.
  • Increased participation in substance abuse recovery programs.

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