EPA’s National Environmental Leadership Award in Asthma Management

Leading the Way: Asthma Management Programs in Boston

By Margaret Reid

On behalf of the Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC), a previous winner of EPA’s National Environmental Leadership Award in Asthma Management, I would like to congratulate Peach State Health Plan, Tufts Medical Center and Multnomah County Health Department for winning this year’s awards. BPHC is honored to partner with EPA to improve the lives of people with asthma in Boston, and ultimately throughout the country. In Boston, we’re launching initiatives to address asthma control in the school and child care settings, including attempting electronic referral with the medical home and community resources.

Tufts Medical Center, located in Boston’s Chinatown neighborhood, serves an immigrant Chinese patient population. Tufts is a member of our city-wide Boston Asthma Home Visit Collaborative. Our collaborative may be the only community in the Asthma Community Network that can say that ALL of our members have been recognized with the EPA’s national asthma award, including:  Boston Public Health Commission/Boston Medical Center in 2009, Neighborhood Health Plan and Boston Children’s Hospital in 2010 and now Tufts Medical Center in 2014!  This collaborative approach serves as a model for programs across the country, and in partnership with EPA, we’ve helped other programs implement effective asthma programs.

One example highlights our partnership with 2014 winner Multnomah County Health Department in Portland, Oregon. In 2009, Multnomah contacted BPHC about Boston’s Breathe Easy at Home Program, which allows clinicians to make on-line referrals for home inspections for their patients with asthma. Multnomah not only adapted the program, they set the bar so much higher!  Visit http://www.asthmacommunitynetwork.org/webinars to learn about their comprehensive program which receives web-based referrals and provides inspection and/or home visits based on their client needs.  In addition, they’re receiving reimbursement for these services, which is extremely impressive.

Asthma Awareness Month provides us an opportunity to feature our successful partnerships, implement activities to raise asthma awareness, and engage with organizations across the country to share best practices. In May, under the umbrella of the Healthier Roxbury Asthma Subgroup of the Massachusetts Alliance for Quality Health, we’re challenging ourselves to a “Tweet a day for the month of May” to spread asthma awareness. Follow us on @HealthyRoxbury  during the month of May. Learn more about all of our award winning programs by reading about EPA’s National Environmental Leadership Award in Asthma Management.

About the author:  Margaret Reid is a registered nurse and will complete her Master in Public Administration in June 2014. As Director of the Boston Public Health Commission’s Division of Healthy Homes and Community Supports, Ms. Reid oversees the Commissions Asthma Prevention and Control Program, which works to improve the health of Boston children and adults with asthma, with a focus on low-income residents and minority populations.

 

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Please share this post. However, please don't change the title or the content. If you do make changes, don't attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

Asthma Disparities: Making an Impact in Chicago’s Public Housing

Several links below exit EPA Exit EPA Disclaimer

By Melissa Gutierrez Kapheim

It’s Asthma Awareness Month! For hundreds of asthma community programs across the country, raising asthma awareness is a year-round reality as we work to improve the lives of people living with asthma every day.

As a 2010 winner of EPA’s National Environmental Leadership Award in Asthma Management, my organization, Sinai Urban Health Institute (SUHI), is always excited to partner with EPA. We strive to share successful strategies that will help programs across the nation deliver environmental asthma management as part of their asthma care services to underserved communities.

Later this month, on May 16th, I will co-present an EPA webinar with Andy Teitelman from the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) on our collaboration efforts for a program called Helping Children Breathe and Thrive in Chicago Public Housing (HCBT).

With funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, SUHI partners with the CHA to implement HCBT in a community where asthma affects 25–30 percent of children, a rate twice the national average. Through community engagement and partnerships, we provide asthma education, assistance navigating the healthcare system, and environmental home assessments.

HCBT uses a Community Health Worker (CHW) model to deliver its services. We hire and train people who live in the same building to educate residents about asthma management. This approach is effective in accelerating honest communications in which people with asthma and their families feel comfortable discussing their home environment.

The visits include a home assessment to identify asthma triggers. HCBT refers triggers to CHA’s case management service, which works with property management to resolve the issue. This referral system was developed so participants can report their housing concerns to CHWs, who shepherd them through the process of getting the problem fixed.  As a result, a variety of housing issues that exacerbate asthma, such as mold, roaches, carpet, and mice, are referred to property management. To date, 80 percent of those referrals have been resolved.

Through our partnerships with CHA and residents of the housing developments, we have achieved results indicative of improved asthma symptoms and control. Specifically, preliminary six-month outcomes of the HCBT program indicate a 56 percent reduction in asthma symptoms, significant reductions in health resource utilization, and statistically significant and clinically associated improvements in quality of life. The project is slated to end in the fall of 2013.

Please join us for our webinar on May 16th. For more information and to register, visit

About the author: Melissa Gutierrez Kapheim, MS, is an epidemiologist at the Sinai Urban Health Institute (SUHI) in Chicago, IL. She has worked in the field of health disparities and community-based health interventions for more than eight years. Since joining SUHI in 2006, she has worked on three consecutive asthma interventions that utilize the community health worker model to improve the health and well-being of children and adults with asthma living in Chicago’s most vulnerable communities.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Please share this post. However, please don't change the title or the content. If you do make changes, don't attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.