The Burden of Asthma in New EnglandThe Clients
Public agencies, community-based organizations, researchers and clinicians addressing the environmental and clinical aspects of asthma.
Because air pollution has no prescribed political or geographic boundaries, it is nearly impossible to determine how, when and where Asthma manifests itself across the New England region. Additionally, each state defines and collects Asthma data differently, making state-by-state comparisons difficult and imprecise. To better understand how Asthma is influenced by outdoor and indoor air quality, Health Resources in Action sought to build a robust asthma surveillance system across New England to determine how, when and where asthma occurs. Data collected via the surveillance system would then be analyzed in a consistent manner so that prevalence comparisons could be studied in meaningful ways and connections to the environment could be researched, understood and addressed.
Health Resources in Action and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Region I (New England) convened public health surveillance professionals from the six New England states to investigate and analyze asthma rates for adults and children. The group collected data on over 12,000 children in the 2003 National Survey of Children's Health and over 33,000 adults in the 2004 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. With this data, HRiA was able to assess the prevalence of asthma throughout the six New England states and analyze the health, socioeconomic, behavioral and environmental predictors of both adult and child asthma in the region.
HRiA produced its findings in The Burden of Asthma in New England (March 2006), a report representing the most current and comprehensive investigation of asthma ever conducted in the New England region. The Burden of Asthma in New England demonstrated very high and growing rates of asthma in both adults and children in the region compared to the rest of the nation, and documented the burden of asthma on families. This report was the subject of 10 print articles, 12 television segments, 7 radio interviews and 58 separate website articles. Not including website postings, the media coverage made 3,044,613 media impressions.
The HRiA Advantage
Health Resources in Action leveraged relationships with key policymakers, researchers and state health department staff throughout New England. This regional collaboration allowed for standardized data collection, which in turn promised meaningful comparisons of asthma prevalence and characteristics across states. With the findings in hand, HRiA is able to push for policy changes at the local, state and federal level regarding asthma prevention and treatment.