Aurora, Colo. (May 26, 2020) - In celebration of Asthma Awareness Month, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has recognized Children's Hospital Colorado's (Children's Colorado) Asthma Program with a National Environmental Leadership Award inAsthma Management. Children's Colorado was one of two hospitals to receive this distinction this year; the other was the University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler, Texas.
Children's Colorado's Asthma Program was created in 2006. An interdisciplinary program, it works across the continuum of care from the community to the clinic to the emergency department and hospital to treat and support children with asthma and their families. The program includes physicians, advanced practice providers, nurses, respiratory therapists, social workers, patient navigators and health educators who work in the community with the families served by Children's Colorado.
"We are deeply honored by this recognition from the EPA," said Monica Federico, MD, medical director of Children's Colorado's Asthma Program. "While our program was initially started to manage the population of children with asthma seen within the four walls of Children's Colorado, we learned over time that asthma, the most common chronic disease of childhood, cannot just be treated in the clinics and in the hospital or emergency department. As a result, we expanded our asthma program to meet the needs of children with asthma in the homes and communities where they live and go to school."
Data show that the children who are seen for asthma at Children's Colorado are overwhelmingly under-resourced, with 50-80% qualifying for Medicaid due to limited income. Screening data show that the barriers most frequently identified include food insecurity and housing issues. Expanding asthma care into the community involved creating partnerships with primary care providers, schools and community organizations that support families and children.
"Our goal is to provide a circle of support for children with asthma. This includes ensuring consistent asthma education in the clinic, in the community, in the schools and in the home," explained Melanie Gleason, physician assistant within Children's Colorado's Asthma Program. "Some of the ways that we accomplish this are through professional asthma education courses such as the Reach the Peak Asthma Educator course and community outreach train-the-trainer sessions for school nurses throughout Colorado."
Both the home visit program, Just Keep Breathing, and the school program, AsthmaComp, use tools and rely upon support and training from the EPA. The home visit program worked with the EPA, local county health departments, and the City of Fort Collins Healthy Homes Program to develop the home assessment. The AsthmaComp school program uses the EPA's Tools for Schools Indoor Air Quality Framework in its work in schools in the Denver metro area and beyond. Both programs continue to work with representatives from the EPA on home remediation, the environment in schools and environmental interventions for families and children with asthma.
"Asthma affects the quality of life of over 23 million Americans and their families," said EPA Regional Administrator Gregory Sopkin. "While controlling asthma is always critical work, it is now as important as ever, given the COVID-19 pandemic. We applaud the Children's Colorado team for their tireless efforts to improve the quality of life of pediatric asthma patients not only through medication, but also by helping families reduce indoor exposure to irritants such as secondhand smoke, as well as allergens from house dust mites, pests, mold and animals."
Additional community partners of Children's Colorado's Asthma Program include the Children's Colorado Child Health Advocacy Institute, Colorado School Districts, Denver Department of Public Health and Environment, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, Colorado Department of Education, American Lung Association, Hunger Free Colorado and Energy Outreach Colorado, among others.
As part of Asthma Awareness Month and to showcase and spread best asthma care practices from both Children's Colorado and the University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler, the EPA will host a webinar May 28, 2020. Information regarding registration for this webinar will be available at: https://www.epa.gov/indoor-air-quality-iaq
About Children's Hospital Colorado
Children's Hospital Colorado is one of the nation's leading and most expansive pediatric healthcare systems with a mission to improve the health of children through patient care, education, research and advocacy. Founded in 1908 and recognized as a top children's hospital by U.S. News & World Report, Children's Colorado has established itself as a pioneer in the discovery of innovative and groundbreaking treatments that are shaping the future of pediatric healthcare worldwide. Children's Colorado offers a full spectrum of family-centered care at its urgent, emergency and specialty care locations throughout Colorado, including its location on the Anschutz Medical Campus, and across the region. The newly opened Children's Hospital Colorado, Colorado Springs, is now the first pediatric-only hospital in southern Colorado. For more information, visit http://www.childrenscolorado.org, or connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.
Children's Hospital Colorado complies with applicable Federal civil rights laws and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, or sex.
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