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News Releases from Region 01

EPA Recognizes Boston Organization for Work to Reduce Asthma in New England

Contact Information: 
David Deegan (deegan.dave@epa.gov)

BOSTON – A Boston organization working in across New England to help families reduce the likelihood of complications from asthma was one of only four groups nationally to earn the highest award given by the US Environmental Protection Agency for work treating asthma.

Health Resources in Action was recognized with the National Environmental Leadership in Asthma Management Award for its collaborative involving a partnership of four states – Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Vermont, as well as health care providers, insurers and policy makers from across New England. The award was given in honor of Asthma Awareness Month.

The New England Asthma Innovation Collaborative is designed to help deliver home visiting services to primarily lower income children with poorly controlled asthma. The group trains clinical and community workers to provide high-quality and culturally-competent asthma home visiting services in a cost-effective manner.

Community health workers, supervised by a nurse or certified asthma educator, make three to four home visits to educate a family and deliver supplies to help families reduce environmental asthma triggers. These efforts have led to a drop in hospital admissions and urgent care visits as well as fewer missed days of work or school from asthma.

"The New England Asthma Innovation Collaborative showed that asthma rates can be lowered and lives improved when health workers educate people in their homes and provide them with the tools to improve their environmental triggers," said Curt Spalding, regional administrator of EPA's New England office. "This award recognizes that life can be improved for people with asthma."

Working in New England, where there are some of the highest adult asthma rates in the country and increasing rates among children, the Collaborative worked to get funding from foundations and the government for its pioneering work.

The collaborative was formed to show that home visits not only improve the health of asthmatic children but also are cost effective to the health care system. The group's efforts found that going into homes with asthma education and interventions to reduce asthma triggers can reduce asthma severity and improve school and work attendance.

The goal of the four National Environmental Leadership Awards in Asthma management is to improve the health of asthmatic children in sustainable ways that can be reproduced by all health care systems.

Other award winners nationwide this year were: AmeriHealth Caritas in Philadelphia; Urban Health Plan in the Bronx, NY; and Public Health - Seattle & King County, Seattle, Wash.  

More information:

  • Learn more about preventing asthma attacks (www.epa.gov/asthma)

  • Asthma sufferers can take some important actions to help control their symptoms and still maintain active lifestyles with three simple steps: Identify and avoid environmental asthma triggers; create an Asthma Action Plan with help from your doctor; and pay attention to your local air quality conditions through the airnow.gov website and Air Quality Index app for your smart phone.