Originally posted on Cigna.com
Cigna Corporation today issued a statement on systemic racism and a commitment to equity and equality:
“Racism and discrimination are destructive forces in any society,” said David Cordani, Cigna President and Chief Executive Officer. “We, as a global health service company, firmly and unequivocally denounce racism and discrimination in all forms and are committed to confronting these issues with intensity, empathy and accountability.”
In furtherance of this commitment, today we proudly launch our new Building Equity and Equality Program, a five-year initiative to expand and accelerate our efforts to support diversity, inclusion, equality and equity for communities of color. Our mission is to improve the health, well-being and peace of mind of those we serve. Below are key components of our program that are designed to fulfill this mission as we address these pressing issues.
There are striking differences in health outcomes in communities with poor social determinants of health, such as unstable housing, low income, unsafe neighborhoods or education. It is well documented that these disparities disproportionately impact communities of color and, as a result, their health outcomes are worse than those of their white counterparts.
As part of our program, we are committing to closing these gaps in health outcomes by:
- Eliminating barriers to health and improving access to care. Through the Cigna Foundation, we will continue to make grants available and convene a broad range of stakeholders – businesses, government entities, nonprofits, providers, delivery systems and community residents – all in an effort to eliminate barriers to health and improve access to care. This includes addressing needs amplified by COVID-19, such as food insecurity and mental health through our Healthier Kids For Our Future®program that specifically focus on the needs of our children. Additionally, we have been actively engaged with Congress and the Administration in efforts to address and eliminate racial and ethnic disparities in health care delivery and outcomes. We will continue to use our seat at the table to share insights and solutions that address social determinants of health and improve our results to strengthen the health of all communities. For more information on our efforts to combat health disparities, please see our 2019 corporate responsibility report, Cigna Connects.
- Expand Cigna’s Health Equity Council. Our team of multi-disciplinary leaders has collaborated on research, testing and solutions to prevent chronic diseases and improve health outcomes in minority communities since 2008. We will further accelerate these efforts to address clinical care, social determinants of health and health behaviors.
Racism and bias not only impact health; they take a toll on overall well-being. We believe that it is critical that no one feels the need to confront racism and bias alone and that everyone feels safe in their environment. Therefore, as part of our program, we are taking the following actions:
- Standing Together. We are inviting our 75,000+ employees to sign a commitment to embody inclusive behavior in their professional and personal lives. We are also inspiring and enabling our team members to collectively donate 100,000 hours of volunteerism annually for programs related to social justice, health equity, diversity and inclusion and community outreach.
- Creating Inclusive Environments. We will now require unconscious bias training for all employees, and are planning cultural competency training for all managers, as a supplement to our existing training requirements. We will also continue to advance authentic and inclusive conversations about systemic racism in America. For example, in June, over 8,000 Cigna employees joined virtual, safe space facilitated discussions, which are now offered regularly. Additionally, we partnered with DiversityIncfor a virtual panel on systemic racism in our communities, which was attended by more 12,300 clients and partners. The replay is available here.
Improve Peace of Mind
We recognize that financial health is a key element of peace of mind and that racism has a negative economic impact on people of color. We are taking steps to advance a positive trend for current and future generations by:
- Creating Educational Opportunities. Education is the path to economic prosperity for many. Cigna is partnering with Howard Universityand the School Superintendent Association to bolster the effectiveness of school district leadership in our nation’s urban areas by funding fellowships for those on a career path to becoming an urban public school superintendent. We are also furthering Cigna Scholars, a program assisting dependents and grandchildren of employees who plan to pursue post-secondary or vocational education.
- Promoting Equity and Equality in Career Advancement.We are committed to compensating our employees equitably and competitively, regardless of race, gender, age or sexual orientation. We will continue to proactively monitor our compensation programs for potential disparities, including conducting a regular annual review of pay equity, and diligently addressing disparities as warranted. Additionally, we will continue to support our mentoring program, including a key focus on creating cross-cultural pairings; we are committed to achieving increased diversity among leadership across the enterprise.
- Supporting Minority Businesses. We are on track to achieve $1 billionin diverse supplier funding by 2025. We will also expand the Cigna Supplier Mentor Protégé Program, established in 2016, to assist minority suppliers by pairing them with Cigna executives for 18 months to help participants develop strategies to strengthen and grow their businesses.
Accountability is a key foundation of our overall program and we are establishing a governance process to oversee the program elements, while tracking and reporting on progress.
- Enterprise Diversity & Inclusion Council.This Council will oversee all elements of our program and will regularly report progress to the Chief Executive Officer and Chief Human Resources Officer. Those executives will in turn regularly report progress to Cigna’s Board of Directors.
- Diversity Scorecard.We will also develop and publish an annual diversity scorecard to advance the principles of diversity, equity and equality.
For more information on Cigna’s Diversity and Inclusion strategy, click here.