The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency awarded a $600,000 grant to the Public Health Institute’s Regional Asthma Management & Prevention (RAMP) on December 17, 2014, to help school-based health centers across the country prevent and manage environmental asthma triggers for children. Asthma, a chronic respiratory disease that causes the lung’s airways to swell and narrow, leading to wheezing, coughing, and shortness of breath, is the most common chronic disease among school-aged children.
“Asthma affects over 7 million children in America and over 900,000 children in California,” said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “EPA’s support for RAMP and its partners advances our commitment to help communities improve indoor air quality to prevent environmental asthma triggers such as dust, mold, smoke and poor ventilation.”
Under EPA’s grant, RAMP and its partner the California School-Based Health Alliance (CSHA), will: develop an Asthma Environmental Intervention Guide for school-based health centers nationwide that identifies actions to prevent and manage environmental asthma triggers at school and at home; conduct trainings at state conferences of school-based health centers in California, Michigan, New York, and Connecticut – all states with high asthma prevalence; and convene a national learning collaborative among school-based health centers in California and nationwide.
“Children spend a significant amount of time at school, making schools a very important place to address asthma,” said Anne Kelsey Lamb, RAMP Director. “We look forward to partnering with the EPA, the CSHA, and school-based health centers across the country to collectively improve indoor air quality and reduce the burden of asthma.”
“Reducing exposure to environmental asthma triggers and improving indoor air quality can play a significant role in improving health for students with asthma,” said Kristin Andersen, CSHA Associate Director “We’re so pleased that EPA is giving us an opportunity to partner with RAMP and school-based health centers to do just that.”
RAMP is among eight organizations in the U.S. receiving grants from EPA to reduce risks to public health from indoor air pollution, for a total investment of $4.5 million. EPA announced the grant award today with RAMP and its partners at the West Oakland Middle School LifeLong Health Center, one of over 230 school-based health centers in California and 2,000 nationwide that will benefit from the grant project. School-based health centers are clinics typically located on a school campus to provide primary health care for students and families at no or low-cost.
While there is no cure for asthma, with access to medical care, appropriate medications, proper self-management, and prevention of environmental asthma triggers, people can control their symptoms.