Michelle Alexander didn’t realize that simple items around her house were making it difficult for her son Nathan to breathe.
“Then I met with a member of Woodhull’s asthma team and we talked about things I needed to change at home, like the cleaning fluid I was using and the pillows we were sleeping on. Now Nathan feels much better and I’m not as anxious about his health.”
It is this kind of work with patients with asthma and their families that has earned the staff at Woodhull Medical and Mental Health Center the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) 2010 National Environmental Leadership Award in Asthma Management for their exemplary efforts to deliver high-quality asthma care in North Brooklyn. Woodhull is one of only five programs in the country to receive the prestigious award this year.
Award winners are recognized for demonstrating that comprehensive asthma care with a strong environmental component can dramatically improve health outcomes for people with asthma. The number of visits to the pediatric asthma clinic more than doubled between 2008 and 2009, which correlated to a 58 percent reduction in asthma-related emergency department visits and 67 percent decrease in hospitalizations.
“The success of the Woodhull Asthma Team is due to both the extraordinary clinical leadership at the hospital and the collaborative relationship we have with our patients. As a community hospital, we are proud of this award and the EPA’s recognition of the care we provide to the communities of North Brooklyn,” said Iris R. Jimenez-Hernandez, Senior Vice President for the Woodhull North Brooklyn Health Network.
Asthma is a serious, life-threatening respiratory disease that affects over 20 million Americans. Rates of asthma have risen sharply over the past thirty years, particularly among children ages 5 to 14.
As part of the program, caregivers identify environmental risks and triggers in the home and at school like household cleaners, mold, animal dander, dust mites and cockroach particles. Then the Asthma Team provides education on these environmental triggers to families and schools, including the distribution of checklists and diagrams outlining the process to eliminate them. The team also distributes environmental control products such as allergen-proof pillow and mattress covers free of charge. Although there is no cure, asthma can be controlled through medical treatment and management of the patient’s environment.
“The EPA is recognizing Woodhull Medical and Mental Health Center for their outstanding efforts to reduce the burden of asthma for families in their communities,” said Mike Flynn, Director of EPA’s Office of Radiation and Indoor Air. “This program is achieving positive environmental and health outcomes, and the EPA applauds their innovation and dedication to controlling asthma.”
For more information about EPA’s National Environmental Leadership Award in Asthma Management, visit www.epa.gov/asthma.