A new Los Barrios Unidos clinic opened Thursday in the South Oak Cliff section of Dallas and will provide help for local residents who suffer from persistent asthma through a program made possible by a Cigna Foundation grant. The $97,000 grant is part of the Cigna Foundation's focus on supporting non-profit organizations that are guiding at-risk individuals through the complex health care and social services systems. The Los Barrios Promotora de Salud program is located in the new clinic at 4732 W. Illinois Ave. The program is run by community health workers, whose duties include advocating for clients with health care providers and resource agencies, making appropriate referrals, following up on referrals, assisting with individual and shared medical appointment health education classes, assisting with health fairs, and networking with community schools and organizations. The clinic grand opening took place Thursday, with LaMonte Thomas, Cigna President and General Manager for North Texas and Oklahoma, cutting the ribbon and joining other dignitaries and speakers. "Helping to build healthy communities is an important part of Cigna's mission, so we're pleased to support Los Barrios and the excellent work it does," Thomas said. "The opening of this wonderful new clinic, which aligns so well with Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings' GrowSouth initiative to invest in and revitalize South Dallas, is an important step toward better health." The Promotora program has engaged 200 patients diagnosed with persistent asthma, and their families, in the first year of operation from September 2015 to September 2016. Data from the Parkland Health & Hospital System shows the impact of the Promotora has been significant, with emergency room use for asthma down by 27 percent since the Los Barrios community health worker has been involved. The Cigna grant will make it possible for the program to hire another community health worker and nursing staff.