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Asthma is a major challenge for America’s schoolchildren. More than 25 percent of children in low-income urban communities have been diagnosed with the disease, and students missed some 10.5 million school days in 2008 because of asthma.
Children’s Health Fund launched the Childhood Asthma Initiative in New York City in 1997 to bring high-quality asthma care to children in poor communities. The South Bronx has one of the highest rates of asthma prevalence in New York City and the country. Asthma is a leading cause of hospitalization among children in the South Bronx. As many as 40% of the children temporarily living in New York City homeless or domestic violence shelters have asthma. The Initiative has a well-documented record of success that has been sustained over time.
· 75% of patients had persistent symptoms when they entered the program. That level fell to 59% after receiving care.
· While 18% of patients had been hospitalized for asthma at some point in the year before entering treatment, only 3% were hospitalized in the year following care.
· The rate of emergency room visits fell from 53% to 20%
The best practices have since been expanded to Washington, DC., which has the highest asthma rate in the nation according to the Centers for Disease Control. They have also been adopted by our programs in New Orleans, where post-Hurricane Katrina mold has sent already-high child asthma rates even higher, and in Detroit, which has been named one of the "Asthma Capitals" of the U.S.
It’s important for asthma patients to learn about the disease and take charge of their care, so Children’s Health Fund also offers resources like educational workshops and our Family Asthma Guide (available in English and Spanish). And because chronic illnesses like asthma can cause anxiety and depression for patients and their loved ones, we provide psychosocial services to help families thrive.