Boston Part of NIH Effort to Advance Asthma Control and Care
BOSTON -- The Boston Public Health Commission today announced that it is one of 13 organizations being awarded new funding to enhance asthma services and programs in Boston. The two-year contract, totaling $100,000, was approved by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
“We are very pleased to have been selected for this nationwide initiative,” said Dr. Barbara Ferrer, the Commission’s executive director. “This funding will help us continue our progress toward reducing the burden of asthma in Boston.”
With the new funding, the Commission will launch the Boston Home Visit Coordination Pilot, a citywide asthma home visiting intervention program designed to provide a continuum of care for families with asthma, particularly those with children. Trained community health workers will conduct a series of home visits to review asthma medication, provide guidance to reduce environmental asthma triggers in the home, and make referrals for smoking cessation, housing assistance, and other resources. They will also follow-up with the patient’s healthcare provider. The project will reach a minimum of 150 children over the two-year period and will focus on communities of color that are disproportionately affected by asthma.
Asthma is a common and often disabling condition that affects some 23 million Americans, including seven million children under the age of 18; asthma accounts for more than 10 million missed work days and nearly 13 million missed school days each year. In Boston, the heaviest burden of asthma hospitalizations is borne by children under age five, according to the Commission’s Health of Boston report. In 2007, the asthma hospitalization rate for this age group was four times the rate for Boston overall. That same year, the asthma hospitalization rate for Black children in Boston under age five was almost three times the rate for Asian children and three and a half times the rate for White children.
“People with asthma should be able to sleep through the night, go to work and school without any problems, and they shouldn’t have to spend time in the hospital,” said Margaret Reid, director of the Commission’s Division of Healthy Homes and Community Supports and the Asthma Prevention and Control Program. ”We are thrilled to be selected as one of the national demonstration sites and look forward to improving the health and quality of life of residents living with asthma.”
The pilot project will build upon on the city’s existing Breathe Easy At Home program, a web-based system that allows doctors and nurses to make referrals for city housing code inspections for their patients with asthma and receive electronic updates on the status of the case. Boston’s Inspectional Services Department (ISD) works to identify and resolve any conditions that may be triggering a child's asthma in their home, such as the presence of pests or mold or moisture problems.
The NHLBI's National Asthma Control Initiative (NACI) is a new effort of the National Asthma Education and Prevention Program (NAEPP) to strengthen collaborative efforts among patients and families, health care providers, and other stakeholders committed to improving the management of asthma. Findings from the Boston Home Visit Coordination Pilot and Breathe Easy at Home will be used to guide effective, evidence-based asthma care and control nationwide.
“Our goal is to help people who have asthma lead longer, healthier, and fuller lives, thereby reducing asthma’s toll on those who have it,” said Diana Schmidt, M.P.H., NAEPP coordinator for the NHLBI. “These demonstration projects are aimed at tackling different barriers to quality asthma care, so patients and their families can improve asthma control—and be active at work, school, and play.”
The following is the complete list of NACI demonstration projects:
· Asthma Allies (Albuquerque, NM)
· Boston Public Health Commission (Boston, MA)
· Children’s Research Institute (Washington, DC)
· Dorchester House Multi-Service Center (Dorchester, MA)
· HHC Woodhull Medical and Mental Health Center (Brooklyn, NY)
· Los Angeles United School District (Los Angeles, CA)
· Medical Care Development (Calais, ME)
· Medical Society of Virginia Foundation (Richmond, VA)
· Michigan Department of Community Health (Lansing, MI)
· Mission Healthcare Foundation (Asheville, NC)
· National Respiratory Training Center (Suffolk, VA)
· South Bronx Asthma Partnership/Bronx-Lebanon Hospital (Bronx, NY)
· University of California, San Francisco (San Francisco, CA)
For more information, visit www.bphc.org or contact the Commission’s Asthma Prevention and Control Program at 617-534-5966.