Baltimore program recognized as national model for asthma care during Asthma Awareness Month
Today the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will award the Green & Healthy Homes Initiative Baltimore (GHHI Baltimore) and Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital CHAMPS Program in Memphis, Tenn. with the 2015 National Environmental Leadership Award in Asthma Management. This award recognizes organizations that offer comprehensive, in-home interventions and innovative asthma education to improve the lives of people with asthma in underserved communities. The award ceremony will take place tonight at the Newseum in Washington, D.C.
GHHI Baltimore serves low-income families living in Baltimore City using a transformative asthma management model that combines in-home family asthma education; a comprehensive health, safety and home energy audit; and root cause remediation. Homes in these very low-income communities usually are in deteriorating condition, with such environmental health hazards as high levels of dust, pest antigens, mold and very poor indoor air quality. GHHI Baltimore assesses the entire home and also addresses lead paint and other safety hazards.
“We can take steps to protect our families and control asthma by learning the triggers and creating an action plan,” said U.S. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “We know our public health is directly connected to our environment, and threats such as climate change are aggravating symptoms for communities across the country which is why we are taking important action through our Clean Power Plan and the Clean Air Act.”
Baltimore residents face a higher than average rate of asthma prevalence, hospitalizations, emergency visits and deaths compared with residents of other Maryland regions and the nation as a whole. Approximately 18.6% of Baltimore City children have asthma, compared with the national average of only 5% to 8%. African Americans living in Baltimore are disproportionately affected and visit the emergency room 6.5 times more often than Caucasians. The asthma hospitalization rate for children in Baltimore City is twice the rate of Maryland as a whole, and African Americans in Baltimore experience an asthma mortality rate that is three times higher than that of Caucasians.
“We are honored by the EPA’s recognition of our work and will continue adapting to serve families in Baltimore and across the country,” said GHHI President & CEO Ruth Ann Norton. “Strong collaboration is key to our program’s success in Baltimore. GHHI emphasizes collaboration across the public, private and philanthropic sectors to have real and lasting health impacts, as well as improve school and work attendance and reduce monthly energy bills. We are replicating this model in communities nationwide to ensure that no child’s potential is limited by unhealthy housing conditions.”
Since 1998, GHHI Baltimore has been conducting housing interventions in homes of patients diagnosed with asthma in Baltimore City. In a recent study published in the Environmental Justice journal, GHHI Baltimore has shown that addressing housing issues in a streamlined manner results in significant public cost savings, as well as savings to individual families. To date Baltimore City residents served by GHHI have experienced:
- 88% increase in children not having to work harder to breathe
- 60% reduction in asthma related hospitalizations
- 62% increase in asthma related perfect school attendance
- 88% increase in parents not missing a work day due to their child’s asthma
About the Green & Healthy Homes Initiative
The Green & Healthy Homes Initiative® (GHHI®) is a national nonprofit dedicated to breaking the link between unhealthy housing and unhealthy families. Formerly known as the Coalition to End Childhood Lead Poisoning, GHHI replaces stand-alone housing intervention programs with an integrated, whole-house approach that produces sustainable green, healthy and safe homes. As a result, we are improving health, economic and social outcomes for families across the country. With support from U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Department of Energy (DOE), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Council on Foundations and numerous philanthropic partners, GHHI serves as the national model for green and healthy homes interventions and is currently working in Austin, Atlanta, Baltimore, Buffalo, Chicago, Cleveland, Denver, Detroit, Dubuque, Flint, Jackson, Lansing, Lewiston Auburn, Marin County, New Haven, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Providence, Salt Lake, San Antonio and Staten Island. Learn more at www.ghhi.org or follow us @HealthyHousing.