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Hasbro Children's Hospital and Environmental Protection Agency Bring Asthma Education to Woonsocket Schools

Release Date: 11/19/2004
Contact Information:

Contact: David Deegan, EPA Press Office, (617) 918-1017

For Immediate Release: November 19 ; Release # dd-04-11-06

WOONSOCKET -- An asthma education program has arrived in Woonsocket thanks to the Asthma and Allergy Center at Hasbro Children's Hospital and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The program, entitled the Woonsocket Asthma Partnership, began in early November. Its goal is to bring a targeted asthma outreach and education program to elementary schools and community sites in Woonsocket to provide a better quality of life for children with asthma. The program was officially announced at a press conference at the Kevin K. Coleman Elementary School on Friday, Nov. 19. Other partners in the program are Thundermist Health Center and the Woonsocket Education Department.

The program is a proven success in the Providence School Department, where it began during the 2000-2001 school year. The Asthma and Allergy Center at Hasbro Children's Hospital developed the innovative program to offer asthma education classes in a convenient location for children and their families. After the first year, an evaluation of the participants showed a significant reduction in the number of days spent in the hospital, doctors' visits, emergency room visits due to asthma and missed school days due to asthma. The results also indicate an estimated cost savings of over $178,000 to the health care system in Rhode Island.

Through a $30,000 grant from the EPA, the Woonsocket Asthma Partnership is now available to children and families in Woonsocket. Weekly classes for parents and children are held in different schools throughout the school year. During the classes, children with asthma and their families receive vital information on how to recognize "triggers" for asthma and how to effectively manage and control their condition.

Robert Klein, MD, director of the Hasbro Children's Hospital Asthma and Allergy Center, says, "our targeted outreach and education program has a proven track record of having a tremendous impact on the quality of life for children with asthma and their families. They have less need for ER visits, less hospital admissions and attend school more regularly. We are grateful to the EPA for their generosity that has allowed us to extend this effective form of education to the children in Woonsocket."

"Because of EPA's concern about childhood asthma, we are taking many actions to improve air quality that will help all citizens to breath cleaner air," said Lois Adams, assistant director of Civil Rights and Urban Affairs in EPA's New England regional office. Adams announced the $30,000 EPA grant to the Woonsocket Asthma Partnership. "EPA is pleased to work together with this motivated group in their efforts to help Rhode Islanders who suffer from asthma."

Hasbro Children's Hospital is the pediatric division of Rhode Island Hospital, a Lifespan partner. This year marks the 10th anniversary of the hospital. The 87-bed facility provides a full range of medical and surgical care for children and offers the only pediatric emergency room and intensive care unit in the region.

In 2003, EPA New England initiated the Healthy Communities Grant Program to join together resources from nine separate programs, in order to more strategically address environmental issues affecting public health. The grant program competitively identifies top quality community-based projects that will achieve measurable environmental and human health improvements in communities across New England. Healthy Communities Grants are targeted to invest action in environmental justice areas of potential concern, places with high risks from toxic air pollution, service sensitive populations, and/or are urban areas. The broad areas intended to be addressed include: Assistance & Pollution Prevention: Schools Sector; Asthma; Children's Environmental Health; Community Air Toxics; Pesticides; Smart Growth; Tools for Schools; Toxics; and the Urban Environmental Program. More information on EPA New England's Healthy Community Grants is available at: http://www.epa.gov/region1/eco/uep/grants_2004hc.html

Related Information:
Indoor Air
Asthma
Tools for Schools
UEP Community Grants Program
Water Topics-- Clean Water Act, water
quality ...