New Englanders May Breathe Easier Thanks to Asthma Coalition

Promoting systemic changes to combat asthma in New England communities

From 2002 to 2003, staff from the New England Asthma Regional Council developed both new programming and a fundraising plan to address environmental causes of asthma.

The council, an arm of The Medical Foundation, is a coalition of federal, state and private agency leaders concerned about environmental contributors to asthma.

Key Results

  • The council identified five top priority project areas:
    • Encouraging use of "green" design in housing rehabilitation projects.
    • Building a robust asthma trigger surveillance system across New England.
    • Reducing diesel emissions by discouraging school buses from idling.
    • Developing guidance for building "healthy" schools in ways that keep the indoor air clean.
    • Convincing insurers to pay for the cost of removing asthma triggers from the homes of asthma patients.
  • The council raised almost $1.2 million in grants and contracts, primarily from federal sources.
  • The council began to use the new funding to:
    • Promote "green" design in housing and schools for people at risk of asthma.
    • Encourage the reduction of school bus diesel emissions that trigger asthma.
    • Create a regional asthma surveillance system.
    • Persuade public and private health insurers to pay for removal of known asthma triggers in homes of asthma patients.

Funding

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) supported this project through a grant of $35,000.