Sinai Urban Health Institute

Since 2000, the Sinai Urban Health Institute (SUHI) and Sinai Children’s Hospital (SCH) have partnered to reduce the burden of asthma on vulnerable Chicago communities. As many as one in four children living in the communities served by the Sinai Health System suffer from asthma, as revealed by the Sinai Improving Community Health Survey. Recognizing the disproportionate asthma burden faced by these communities, a series of four comprehensive asthma interventions have been conducted over the past 10 years. Each of these initiatives has focused on decreasing asthma-related morbidity and improving participants’ quality of life by utilizing Community Health Workers (CHW)— members of the community trained to deliver case-specific asthma education through home visits. With funding from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, SUHI and SCH initiated a comprehensive, multifaceted program in September 2008, called Healthy Home, Healthy Child: The Westside Children’s Asthma Partnership (HHHC). This unique program draws from the strengths of its collaborations with partner organizations and community members to address medical, social and environmental factors of asthma. At the heart of this program is the CHW, who provides one-on-one asthma education and environmental trigger reduction counseling to families in their homes. The CHWs also serve as a liaison between the family and medical system. Cost savings analyses and evaluations of these programs have enabled SUHI to demonstrate the approach’s value, proving that the program was a wise investment. Since the inception of the SUHI Pediatric Asthma Programs, there has been on average a 50 percent reduction in frequency of symptoms experienced by children (50.4 percent – 63.6 percent) and significant declines in asthma-related emergency department visits (47.6 percent – 73.5 percent) and hospitalizations (50.0 percent – 81.0 percent). In addition, the SUHI Pediatric Asthma Model has been replicated in other areas around Illinois.

Gina McCarthy, then Assistant Administrator, Office of Air and Radiation, U.S. EPA, and Mike Flynn, Director, Office of Radiation and Indoor Air, U.S. EPA, present Award to (from left to right) Gloria Seals, Helen Margellos-Anast and Melissa A. Gutierrez of the Sinai Urban Health Institute

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