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Aetna Distributes $2.2 Million Through Regional Grants Program; $170,000 donated in Illinois; 92 percent of grants focus on racial and ethnic disparities.

HARTFORD, Conn. -- Aetna (NYSE: AET) today announced the final total of its national Regional Grants Program for 2004. The company made $2.2 million in grants nationally to 109 organizations. Funds in 2004 were specifically directed toward enhancing cultural competency and improving the oral health of children and adults.

Since 2001, Aetna has awarded more than $7.5 million through the Regional Grants Program, including $5 million for initiatives that address racial and ethnic disparities in health care.

"We are committed to building healthy communities, with particular emphasis on addressing racial and ethnic disparities in health care," said Marilda L. Gandara, president of the Aetna Foundation. "The Regional Grants Program, in its fourth year, funds programs that improve understanding of racial and cultural diversity and provide access to quality health care."

Racial and ethnic disparities in health care have become a critical issue as minorities are projected to make up 41.5 percent of the American workforce by 2008. Over the past two years, Aetna has focused on reducing disparities in health care among racial and ethnic populations through an integrated business and philanthropic approach.

Illinois organizations received $170,000 in 2004, over $625,000 since 2001

The grants include $50,000 to the Infant Welfare Society of Chicago and $95,000 since 2002. In addition, $25,000 was donated to the Erie Family Health Center. A total of $45,000 was given to the health center during the past two years.

"We are pleased to support local organizations that share Aetna's commitment to ending disparities in health care" said Robert Mendonsa, Aetna General Manager. "We look forward to working with the Infant Welfare Society and other program recipients to accomplish this goal."

"Our program provides dental services for underserved children and teenagers. Every year we have over 13,000 dental visits at our clinic," said Dr. Ghassan Souri, Dental Director, Infant Welfare Society. "Aetna's generosity allows us to teach many underprivileged children the basics of dental hygiene and to receive dental exams and preventive services that otherwise are difficult to access."

The Aetna Foundation 2004 regional grant recipients in Illinois:

--Advocate Charitable Foundation DBA Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center

--Asian Health Coalition of Illinois

--The Chicago Project for Violence Prevention

--Community Health

--Erie Family Health Center

--Infant Welfare Society of Chicago

--Institute of Medicine of Chicago

--Northwestern Memorial Foundation

About the Aetna Foundation

The Aetna Foundation is the independent charitable and philanthropic arm of Aetna Inc. Founded in 1972, the Foundation seeks to help build healthy communities by funding initiatives that improve the quality of life where our employees and customers work and live. Since 1980, the Aetna Foundation has contributed more than $270 million in grants, scholarships and social investments. The Foundation's giving is focused on reducing racial and ethnic disparities in health care. Additional information about the Aetna Foundation is available at www.aetna.com/foundation.

About Aetna

As one of the nation's leading providers of health care, dental, pharmacy, group life, disability and long-term care benefits, Aetna puts information and helpful resources to work for its approximately 13.7 million medical members, 11.9 million dental members, 8.4 million pharmacy members and 13.5 million group insurance members to help them make better informed decisions about their health care and protect their finances against health-related risks. Aetna provides easy access to cost-effective health care through a nationwide network of more than 655,000 health care professionals, including over 390,000 primary care and specialist doctors and 3,937 hospitals. For more information, please visit www.aetna.com. (Figures as of December 31, 2004)
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Feb 18, 2005
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