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News Releases from Region 09

EPA Honors L.A.’s Esperanza Community Housing Corporation’s Asthma Program

05/05/2017
Contact Information: 
Nahal Mogharabi (mogharabi.nahal@epa.gov)
213-244-1815

LOS ANGELES--The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) marked the start of Asthma Awareness Month by honoring the Esperanza Community Housing Corporation for its efforts to improve the lives of people with asthma in the underserved communities of South Los Angeles. The National Environmental Leadership Award in Asthma Management is the highest recognition EPA bestows on a program and its leaders for delivering excellent environmental asthma management as part of their comprehensive asthma care services.

“Congratulations to these award-winning programs for their outstanding efforts,” said Mike Flynn, EPA’s Acting Deputy Administrator.  “Thank you for helping to alleviate the burden of asthma born by more than 24 million Americans, including more than 6 million children.”

More than five million Californians have asthma – a costly and potentially life-threatening chronic health condition that makes breathing a struggle. One out of every five of those Californians with asthma live in Los Angeles County. In 2014, about 50,000 Los Angeles County residents rushed to emergency rooms for asthma treatment – more than 20,000 of them children.

Esperanza Community Housing Corporation, based in the Figueroa Corridor neighborhood of South Los Angeles, is a national leader in advancing the Promotores de Salud (Community Health Promoters) model of in-home asthma care. This model trains residents to provide culturally appropriate asthma education and home-based environmental interventions. The goal of providing in-home asthma education to patients and caregivers is the prevention of medically costly, time consuming and frightening asthma episodes. Esperanza’s program puts trusted community members into leadership positions—an approach that has translated into an increase in participation in the program and a significant decrease in asthma emergency visits.

Many environmental asthma triggers can be found indoors, where most Americans spend about 90% of their time. In-home asthma programs help asthma patients and their families identify and remove asthma triggers from the home and make sure that patients and their caregivers know how to prevent and treat asthma attacks.

The first three years of Esperanza’s in-home asthma program, “Healthy Breathing,” has had significant success. The program has increased the patients’ and caregivers’ understanding and correct use of asthma medication from 10% to nearly 100%. Overall, after receiving a home visit from a Promotora de Salud, nearly 76% patients with frequent prior emergency room visits for asthma-related issues did not return to the emergency room with asthma issues. 

In addition to its community work, Esperanza Community Housing Corporation has been a leader in the State of California, establishing a framework for sustainable financing approaches for asthma programs in partnership with U.S. EPA, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Regional Asthma Management Program.

Asthma is an enormous challenge for medical and public health communities, and has a substantial impact on the economy in terms of direct medical costs, as well as lost productivity amounting to more than $56 billion in the nation and $11.3 billion in California annually. In-home asthma programs—like Esperanza’s—have demonstrated significant cost benefits of $5-14 saved for every dollar spent by reducing the number of emergency room visits and hospitalizations. By equipping health insurance, housing, and environmental programs with the necessary support, EPA is focused on making environmental asthma intervention in homes a critical component of comprehensive care.

To learn more about EPA’s asthma efforts and the winners of the 2017 National Environmental Leadership Award in Asthma Management: http://www.epa.gov/asthma

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