By Tufts Medical Center
Tufts Medical Center’s Asthma Prevention and Management Initiative (APMI) program was recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on May 29 at the National Healthy Homes Conference organized by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in Nashville, Tennessee. Sherry Dong, director of the Department of Community Health Improvement Programs (CHIP), which established the APMI, received the recognition on Tufts MC’s behalf.
“We appreciate the EPA’s recognition of APMI’s work, the culturally and linguistically competent services and education it provides, and the collaborations we have developed and strengthened over the years,” Dong said. “Without our collaborators, our clinical providers in the Asian and general pediatric clinics, the Josiah Quincy Elementary and Upper Schools, and various community-based organizations, we would not be able to reach as many families, youth and caregivers, and provide the vital asthma education to the local community.”
The EPA National Environmental Leadership Award in Asthma Management celebrates outstanding programs and leaders who improve the lives of people with asthma by delivering strong environmental asthma management as part of their comprehensive asthma care services. Tufts MC was selected to be honored as a Health Care Provider, one out of three EPA award categories, along with Health Plan and Communities in Action.
For the past eight years the APMI has been serving a primarily immigrant, non- or limited-English speaking and densely populated Chinatown community. APMI is the only local asthma management program that focuses on and prioritizes Asian speaking families and features program components in the hospital, schools and community.
May was Asthma Awareness Month, which Tufts MC celebrated with two asthma health fairs on May 13 and May 17. Parents and kids learned more about asthma, as well as common allergies in the home that may exacerbate asthma, such as dust mites, cats and dogs, and cockroaches.
Tufts Medical Center established the APMI in 2006, in partnership with Chinatown principals at the Josiah Quincy Elementary School and the Josiah Quincy Upper School. Asthma prevalence had increased from 15 to 20 percent at the local elementary school that year (compared to a 10 percent prevalence in Boston as a whole) and Tufts MC’s bilingual pediatric providers saw a spike in asthma-related urgent care visits. In response, the CHIP team set out to inform the community in places where people live, work, and gather.
The initiative aims to improve the functional outcomes of school-age children with asthma and decrease overall utilization of acute care services for asthma-related problems. APMI offers community education programs and introduced a home visiting program several years ago. APMI currently serves more than 100 families per year through its home visiting program, which includes environmental assessments, medication review, review of asthma action plans and disease education for children and their families.
This post is also available in: Chinese