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Connecticut Children’s Medical Center Acknowledged for Exceptional Asthma Program

Release Date: 05/02/2012
Contact Information: Paula Ballentine, 617-918-1027

(Boston, Mass.—May 2, 2012)  The Connecticut Children’s Medical Center is one of four winners nationwide of the 2012 National Environmental Leadership Award in Asthma Management for its Easy Breathing Program, which includes patient education and environmental interventions. The program is implemented across the state of Connecticut helping ensure that comprehensive asthma care is available to the 105,000 children with asthma now enrolled in the program.

The Easy Breathing Program is designed to aid primary care clinicians in making a diagnosis of asthma and treating individuals using a systematic, standardized, approach' which adheres to the National Asthma Education and Prevention Program (NAEPP) guidelines.  It was the first large scale program in the country to demonstrate that clinicians can use NAEPP guidelines and that its’ effective use can result in improved quality of asthma care.  One of the distinguishing features of this program is the creation of a robust database which is used for research and reporting.  It allows the Center to provide clinicians with demographical and other information relating to environmental exposures and asthma severity of children enrolled in the program.

"The City of Hartford -- Connecticut's Capital City -- has some of the greatest health disparities in the country, and with reported asthma rates nearing 20% and high asthma-mortality rates for both men and women, this recognition is well-deserved and I congratulate Connecticut Children's Medical Center on their service and commitment to Hartford and the State of Connecticut,” said   Mayor Pedro E. Segarra. “This distinction is also important in that it gives me confidence to know that we have community partners who, working with our Department of Health & Human Services, are focused on providing our residents with the best quality of life possible."

As part of Asthma Awareness Month, EPA is honoring exceptional health plans, health care providers and communities in action for their efforts to improve the lives of people with asthma in underserved communities across the country. The other three winners include: L.A. Care Health Plan, Los Angeles, Calif., Michigan Department of Community Health’s Asthma Prevention and Control Program, Lansing, Mich., Mission Health, Asheville, N.C.

EPA is encouraging Americans to take action against asthma by learning more about the disease and how it affects their families and communities. Nearly 26 million Americans, including more than 7 million children, are affected by this chronic respiratory disease, including low income and minority populations at the highest rates.

The annual economic cost of asthma, including direct medical costs from hospital stays and indirect costs such as lost school and work days, amount to about $56 billion. Through the Clean Air Act, EPA has helped prevent millions of asthma attacks across the country and continues to work alongside federal, state and local partners to address this nationwide problem. In 2010 alone, pollution prevention standards under the Clean Air Act lead to reductions in fine particle matter and ozone pollution that prevented more than 1.7 million incidences of asthma attacks. Recent standards, such as the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards, will further reduce air pollution and help prevent asthma attacks.

Americans who suffer from asthma can learn to control their symptoms and still maintain active lifestyles. Here are some simple steps:

Know your Asthma Triggers and Avoid Them: Air pollution, dust mites, mold, secondhand smoke and even cockroaches can trigger asthma attacks. Learn your triggers and avoid them in your home and neighborhood. 

Create an Asthma Action Plan: You can help avoid the emergency room by managing your asthma daily. With a doctor's help, you can create an asthma action plan to help you effectively manage your asthma and reduce exposure to triggers.

Get Active: Even if you have asthma, by taking the appropriate medications and avoiding your triggers, you can still participate in sports and activities. 

Be 'Air Aware': Check local air quality conditions at airnow.gov and make informed decisions about participating in outdoor activities. To help, an Air Quality Index mobile app is available for smart phones.

More on Asthma and the 2012 Award winners: http://www.epa.gov/asthma

More on the Air Quality Index Mobile App: http://m.epa.gov/apps/airnow.html

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