Harlem Children's Zone Asthma Initiative
To address the asthma crisis in the Central Harlem, Harlem Children’s Zone, Inc. and the Department of Pediatrics at Columbia University-Harlem Hospital Center (HHC) launched the Harlem Children’s Zone Asthma Initiative (HCZAI) in partnership with the Harlem Health Promotion Center at the Mailman School of Public Health of Columbia University and the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, East and Central Harlem District Public Health Office. The primary goal of the HCZAI is to reduce asthma morbidity through improved health care utilization for children with asthma aged 0-12 living in the HCZ Project.
There are 3 Phases of the HCZAI, namely:
I. Identify children in the HCZ Project area aged 0-12 with asthma via a written survey completed by their parent or guardian.
II. Each child identified with asthma—regardless of severity—is offered an array of medical, educational, environmental, and social interventions.
III. Enrolled families are followed up at 3-month intervals in order to assess the effectiveness of home-based interventions and provide additional services if necessary.
HCZAI enrolls families of children with asthma to provide the following services:
• Medical: HHC’s pediatric medical staff ensures that a child has a current asthma management plan, a regular health care provider, and good asthma care.
• Educational: HHC pediatric outreach workers educate families on the correct use of medications, identifying and controlling triggers for asthma and understanding their asthma management plan.
• Environmental: HHC pediatric outreach workers provide families with resources such as HEPA-vacuums, mattress covers, pest control services, and other services to help control triggers.
• Social: HHC’s social worker helps families with other issues and may refer them to HCZ programs.
The HCZAI has expanded its community-based service by identifying and enrolling children who live and attend nearly 20 elementary schools in Central Harlem, focusing on children who have frequently missed school, have visited emergency rooms or have been hospitalized due to asthma.