News Releases from Headquarters›Air and Radiation (OAR)
Observing Asthma Awareness Month, EPA Honors Leading Community-Level Asthma Care
Chicago, Omaha, and Rhode Island Programs Recognized as National Models
WASHINGTON (May 1, 2019) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced the winners of the 2019 National Environmental Leadership Award in Asthma Management. Each year during Asthma Awareness Month, EPA honors programs delivering excellent environmental asthma management as part of their comprehensive asthma care services to improve the lives of children and families with asthma. The 2019 award recipients are Mobile Care Chicago (Illinois), the Omaha Healthy Kids Alliance (Nebraska), and the Rhode Island Department of Health.
“I am honored to award and congratulate the winners of the 2019 National Environmental Leadership Award in Asthma Management on behalf of EPA,” said EPA Assistant Administrator for Air and Radiation Bill Wehrum. “These outstanding programs are on the front lines of asthma care, improving lives, delivering real solutions, and helping the many Americans who battle asthma. We are proud to recognize leaders in the field who are providing comprehensive, in-home care and education every day, while setting the standard for asthma care and management.”
Asthma is a major public health issue, affecting nearly 23 million people, including six million children, and disproportionately affecting low-income and minority communities. The economic impact of asthma has been estimated at more than $56 billion annually from direct medical costs and indirect costs, such as missed school and work days. In partnership with other federal agencies and nonprofit organizations, EPA delivers a national, multi-faceted education and outreach initiative to increase public awareness and action to manage environmental asthma triggers as part of comprehensive asthma management.
Through AsthmaCommunityNetwork.org, EPA supports an online network of more than 1,100 community-based asthma programs with powerful, innovative tools and technical assistance to drive best practices, learning, and ongoing improvement of asthma care. EPA is committed to improving the lives of people with asthma by integrating sound science into effective public health programs around the country.
2019 National Environmental Leadership Award in Asthma Management Winners:
Mobile Care Chicago (Chicago, Ill.) provides free access to specialty medical care, including for asthma, for children across Chicago. Started in 1998 by four physicians wanting to address cost and transportation – two of the most commonly cited barriers to asthma care – the program began offering free care in the highest need neighborhoods from mobile clinics in converted camper vans. The program has since grown from a partnership with two Chicago public elementary schools to 45 Chicago public schools, parochial schools, and Head Start programs operating state-of-the-art mobile health clinics. The Mobile Care’s Comprehensive Asthma Management Program provides in-home asthma assessments and a wide-range of supplies tailored to address in-home asthma triggers including furnace filters, cleaning supplies and integrated pest management. The program has seen a 50% decrease in school absenteeism and emergency department visits and a three-fold return on investment. The reduction in hospitalization rate alone has saved the local health care system at least $156 million during the past 13 years.
Omaha Healthy Kids Alliance (Omaha, Neb.) is a children’s environmental health organization dedicated to improving children’s health through healthy homes. Their Asthma In-Home Response Program serves children ages 18 and younger with asthma and partners with community-based organizations, hospitals, and Managed Care Organizations to deliver free home visits, asthma education, environmental assessments, supplies and remediation. They have a significant referral network, referring families to other organizations for emergency, legal and employment services, as well as food pantry access and more. Participants have shown a significant decrease in symptom days, missed school days, emergency department visits and hospitalizations – and for every $1 invested Omaha Healthy Kids Alliance realized a return on investment of $1.83.
Rhode Island Department of Health Asthma Control Program (Providence, R.I.) serves children with asthma ages 0-17 in high poverty, urban cities throughout the state. The program partners with organizations including Hasbro Children’s Hospital, St. Joseph Health Center, New England Asthma Regional Council, United HealthCare and the Green and Healthy Homes Initiative to deliver care. The evidence-based Home Asthma Response Program (HARP), which uses certified asthma educators and community health workers (CHWs), conducts up to three intensive in-home sessions, including tailored environmental services. HARP’s CHWs reported reductions in environmental triggers including mold, pests, dust, pets, tobacco smoke and chemicals. In addition, using hospital claims data, the program was able to show a 75% reduction in asthma-related hospital and emergency department costs for HARP participants. And, for every $1 invested in HARP participants, the program realized a $1.33 return on investment. The program recently expanded to provide HARP home visiting services statewide for Medicaid-enrolled children.
A national webinar with award winners will be held on May 23 as part of Asthma Awareness Month and more information on it will be available on http://www.epa.gov/asthma.
To learn more about asthma and environmental triggers, please visit http://www.epa.gov/asthma.