Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) and IMPACT DC Partner on Bridging Health Disparities Gap

AAFA, IMPACT DC team up with a focus on expanding nationwide community health programming

Image courtesy IMPACT DC
Image courtesy IMPACT DC
Image courtesy IMPACT DC

Washington D.C., Oct. 08, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — In the United States, the burden of asthma falls disproportionately on poor, low-wealth, and minority populations. Decades of research and public health data show stark disparities in asthma prevalence, mortality and health care utilization along socioeconomic, racial, and ethnic lines with Black, Hispanic and Indigenous Americans under the heaviest burden. This was once again demonstrated in the comprehensive report Asthma Disparities in America: A Roadmap to Reducing Burden on Racial and Ethnic Minorities issued by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA).

The problem can’t be solved alone. That’s why AAFA and the Improving Pediatric Asthma Care in the District of Columbia (IMPACT DC) Asthma Clinic at Children’s National Hospital are coming together to lead a national collaborative dedicated to reducing asthma disparities by strengthening self-sustaining, community-based asthma management. The goal is to implement a new, national model that will reduce emergency room visits, cut death rates, lower school and work absences, bring down health care spending, and improve quality of life within the next ten years.

“Community programs have proven to be an effective intervention tool for improving health outcomes in local communities,” said Kenneth Mendez, president and CEO of AAFA. “Unfortunately, systemic barriers get in the way of the growth of these programs on a national scale. Our partnership with IMPACT DC helps advance our mission of prioritizing policies and programs to improve asthma health for Americans most at risk while dismantling systems that fuel harmful disparities. Making a real and lasting difference is an achievable goal when groups and individuals with a shared, critical interest come together. Partnering to find sustainable solutions will help lead to a vast reduction in asthma disparities and help promote health parity overall. When we narrow gaps in asthma care and outcomes for underserved groups of people, we truly advance care and management for everyone with asthma.”

“Despite novel treatments and guideline-based care, asthma remains a significant public health problem, disproportionately affecting minorities and socioeconomically disadvantaged children. Asthma health disparities are often due to the effects of poverty and substandard housing, with environmental triggers as a major contributor. At IMPACT DC, we partner with local housing organizations and the government to improve poor indoor air quality due to mold and other hazards,” said Dr. Shilpa Patel, medical director at IMPACT DC and attending physician in the division of emergency medicine at Children’s National Hospital. “Coordinating world-class care at Children’s National Hospital, with our incredible community partners, has allowed us to improve the lives of the most at-risk children with asthma.  We hope to leverage AAFA’s national platform to bring together programs in other cities so that we can learn from each other and create a best-practice model to address pediatric asthma health disparities at the national level.”

AAFA and IMPACT DC will bring leading experts together to share best