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Projects by Program Area

At the Aetna Foundation, we believe in the power of strategic philanthropy to help improve people’s health as well as the quality of health care in our country. 

We focus our grant making on research that can deepen our knowledge of root causes of pressing health issues, on programs that can produce measurable results and on analyses that can lead to better policies that impact our health.

Our goal is to make a significant impact in our three program areas:


With two-thirds of American adults either obese or overweight, obesity has become one of the most serious and costly health issues of our time.  We are combating obesity on two fronts.  On a national basis, we support research to understand the root causes of the nation’s obesity epidemic and drive viable solutions to the core problems.  In communities across the country, we support innovative fitness and nutrition programs, particularly programs aimed at children and adults of minority populations who are at higher risk of obesity. 
Since 2006, Aetna and the Aetna Foundation have awarded more than $8 million to support efforts combating obesity in children and adults, including $2.3 million in 2010. 

Our recent grants include $250,000 to the nonpartisan Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress to study the impact of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps, on children’s obesity rates and identify best practices for improving nutritional intake among the program’s young recipients. 

Read more about this award and other national grants that address this issue. 

Read about our support for community-based programs that help people live healthier lives.

Racial and Ethnic Health Care Equity

Government statistics show that many racial and ethnic groups are more likely to experience poorer health and receive lower quality health care across a range of disease areas, such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, HIV/AIDS, diabetes, mental health, and other chronic and infectious diseases.  Disparities in infant mortality are particularly striking:  African-American infants are twice as likely as white infants to die before their first birthday.  

Since 2001, Aetna and the Aetna Foundation have awarded more than $30 million in grants to support research and programs that address disparities in health and health care, including $1.24 million in 2010.

Recent grants include $250,000 to the March of Dimes to study ways to increase the number of African-American women participating in its group prenatal programs and improve the programs’ effectiveness as part of the organization’s efforts to reduce the number of premature births.

Read more about this award and other national grants that address this issue.

Read about our support for community-based programs aimed to help end health disparities.

Integrated Health Care

Fragmented and poorly coordinated health care can lead to poor health outcomes, unnecessary or duplicated tests, avoidable hospitalizations and higher health care costs.  We believe that a well-integrated and well-coordinated health care model, centered on strong primary care, can improve people’s health and be more cost-effective

To advance integrated health care, we fund research efforts that focus on a strong primary care home to improve coordination and communication among health care professionals, create informed and involved patients, and promote cost-effective, affordable care.

In 2010, Aetna and the Aetna Foundation awarded grants totaling $1 million to advance integrated care.

Recent grants include $250,000 to RAND Health, a division of the RAND Corporation, to study the impact of poor care coordination on quality and costs of care.  The study is among the first to provide credible data and an evidence base around the number of avoidable treatments occurring in health care and the quality and cost impacts of poorly coordinated patient care. 

Read more about this award and other national grants that address this issue. 

Read about our support for community-based programs whose goal is to promote integrated care.

Our Mission
Our mission
Our mission is to promote wellness, health, and access to high-quality health care for everyone, while supporting the communities
                                           we serve. 

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