The Mishawaka-based Franciscan Health Foundation has received a grant from the Cigna Foundation to bolster its health improvement outreach for the growing Burmese population in Indianapolis. The more than $184,000 grant is being used to fund a Burmese Community Health Worker who will provide one-on-one, culturally appropriate help for clients with health and human service needs.

The foundation says Indianapolis is home to an estimated 25,000 refugees from Burma who have been driven from their homes due to oppression and who have many barriers to successful resettlement, including lack of transportation access, healthy food and translation services.

“We are thrilled that the Cigna Foundation has partnered with Franciscan Health Foundation to provide pathways to better healthcare and essential living opportunities for our large Burmese population. Cigna’s commitment to building healthier communities buttresses our efforts to improve the lives of a sometimes-forgotten group in greater Indianapolis,” said Senior Vice President for Franciscan Health Foundation Caitlin Leahy.

The foundation says it recently recruited BiakTha Sui to fill the BCHW position and hopes to begin serving as a liason between the Burmese and community health and social service agencies.

“One important goal is to collaborate with organizations serving the Burmese population, such as Hope for Tomorrow and CHIN Community Indiana (CCI), to be sure they have the resources they need to help Burmese families. We will be working with them to find food, safe housing, interpreters and language education, job skills, as well as access to essential healthcare services,” said Sui.