Bethlehem Partnership for a Healthy Community – The Asthma Initiative

Based on the premise that strong patient-provider interaction is key to asthma management, the Bethlehem Partnership for a Healthy Community identifies and educates high-risk children and their families through the school system, improves access to preventive services and care, and provides up-to-date asthma education to the medical community. In partnership with St. Luke’s Hospital and the Bethlehem Area School District, the initiative helps to manage asthma through multiple access points: school-based health clinics, Open Airways Programs, mobile school health clinics, and St. Luke’s Hospital Clinic. The program educates and supports clinical care teams by providing annual education and training to health care providers and coalition partners. Patient education includes multiple, bilingual home visits and thorough patient follow-up. Working with the Bethlehem Health Bureau, the initiative evaluates homes for environmental triggers while distributing trigger-reducing items (such as mattress covers and green cleaning supplies), provides one-on-one education to families, and assists tenants in contacting landlords in order to correct mold and cockroach issues. Through a successful partnership with Lehigh University, the program expanded to address outdoor air quality during the home visit survey. The initiative has proven to be effective: From 2007-2008, multiple asthma-related pediatric emergency department visits for individual patients decreased by 56 percent.

Gina McCarthy, then Assistant Administrator, Office of Air and Radiation, U.S. EPA, and Lisa Jackson, then Administrator, U.S. EPA, present Award to (left to right) Mary Mittl, Susan Madeja and Elizabeth Roth of the Bethlehem Partnership for a Healthy Community – The Asthma Initiative

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