For Immediate Release
February 14, 2011
Contact Information

Susan Millerick

(BPRW) Aetna Foundation Extends Support for Researchers Working to End Health Disparities and Solve Other Health Services Issues

- AcademyHealth/Aetna Foundation Minority Scholars Program Provides Professional Development, Mentoring For Health Services and Policy Researchers -

(BLACK PR WIRE)--HARTFORD, Conn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Aetna Foundation today announced that it is continuing its professional development program for minority health researchers in partnership with AcademyHealth, a premier professional society for health services researchers and health policy analysts. A $197,000 grant will extend the program through 2013. 

“Developing tomorrow’s leaders in disparities research from underrepresented minority groups is an important part of our strategy to improve health outcomes for minority populations nationwide,” said Anne C. Beal, MD, MPH, president of the Aetna Foundation. “The men and women in our program are distinguished by their exemplary analytical skills, research capabilities and passionate commitment to improving our health care system. By understanding the root causes of disparities in our health care system, we can shape the changes that will deliver the highest quality care for everyone, including the most vulnerable in our society.”

Founded last year, the AcademyHealth/Aetna Foundation Minority Scholars Program provides professional development, mentoring and networking opportunities for graduate-level students, post-doctoral fellows and other researchers to attract more to the field of racial and ethnic disparities in health outcomes and access to health care. The first cohort of scholars was announced in 2010 and included doctors, nurses, pharmacists, public health researchers, social workers and policy analysts. More information about the program and the scholars is available at

“The AcademyHealth/Aetna Foundation Minority Scholars Program is an important extension of our efforts to improve researchers’ skills and abilities to be effective players in our shared goals of improving health and health care, especially for the most vulnerable,” said Dr. Lisa Simpson, president and CEO of AcademyHealth. “Aetna’s funding commitment for the next three years enables us to provide training and support to scholars from diverse backgrounds and attract to scholars to the field of disparities research.”

Applications for the 2011 program are being accepted through March 15, 2011 on the AcademyHealth web site. Candidates must be full-time graduate students, post-doctoral fellows or clinical fellows in health services or disparities research and identify themselves with one or more of the following underrepresented minority groups: Black/African-American; Hispanic/Latino; and American Indian/Alaska Native.

The AcademyHealth/Aetna Foundation Minority Scholars Program supports the cost of travel and registration for 15 scholars annually to attend AcademyHealth’s Annual Research Meeting (ARM), pre-ARM Methods Workshops, and the Disparities Interest Group Annual Meeting. In 2011, the meetings will be held June 10 – 14 in Seattle. The program also matches scholars with mentors in the field and provides assistance in publishing, networking and career opportunities.

The AcademyHealth/Aetna Foundation Minority Scholars Program builds on Aetna’s 10-year commitment to combating health disparities. Since 2001, Aetna and the Aetna Foundation have awarded more than $30 million in support to address the challenges of disparities in minority groups and improve the health outcome of these populations. Additionally, Aetna pioneered the voluntary collection of race and ethnicity data from its members, making it one of the first insurers to collect this data.

Additional workforce development programs supported by the Aetna Foundation include the Aetna Health Professions Partnership Initiative at the University of Connecticut that introduces middle and high school students from Hartford’s disadvantaged neighborhoods to the fields of medicine, science and health care. The Aetna Foundation also supports the Four Directions research program at Brigham and Women’s Hospital that provides Native American and Alaskan Native undergraduates with summer research opportunities in science and medicine.

About the Aetna Foundation

The Aetna Foundation, Inc. is the independent charitable and philanthropic arm of Aetna Inc. Since 1980, Aetna and the Aetna Foundation have contributed $394 million in grants and sponsorships, including $15.6 million in 2010. As a national health foundation, we promote wellness, health, and access to high-quality health care for everyone. This work is enhanced by the time and commitment of Aetna employees, who have volunteered more than 2.3 million hours since 2003. Our current giving is focused on addressing the rising rate of adult and childhood obesity in the U.S.; promoting racial and ethnic equity in health and health care; and advancing integrated health care. For more information, visit