Utilizing the Community Health Worker Model to communicate strategies for asthma self-management and self-advocacy among public housing residents

Sponsoring Program Name: 
Sinai Urban Health Institute

Non-Hispanic Black children in the US experience a higher prevalence of asthma and are more likely to have severe and poorly controlled asthma than their non-Hispanic White counterparts. These disparities are particularly pronounced among those living in public housing compared to the general population. To combat these disparities, health care researchers collaborated with public housing management to deliver a year-long community health worker (CHW) asthma and healthy homes intervention to children with asthma in six public housing developments. CHWs, hired from the targeted housing developments, educated families to better manage asthma medically and address asthma triggers in the home, and served as a bridge to medical, social, and public housing services. This is the first time such a full spectrum asthma intervention has been implemented by CHWs in public housing. Fifty-nine children completed the intervention, 95% of whom were African American. Daytime asthma symptoms in the previous two weeks were significantly reduced between baseline (4.1) and 1-year follow-up (0.8). The percent of children making two or more urgent health resource utilization visits decreased significantly between baseline (42%) and 1-year follow-up (15%). Quality of life scores for caregivers of children increased significantly (by 0.7 points). The implementation of the CHW model in a public housing setting not only meets children where they live, but effectively bridges the gap between them and the health care system, reducing the disproportionate burden of asthma in these communities and improving overall quality of life.


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