On World Asthma Day, RAMP Calls for Continued Commitment to Ending Asthma Disparities
STATEMENT BY ANNE KELSEY LAMB, DIRECTOR OF REGIONAL ASTHMA MANAGEMENT AND PREVENTION
"It’s World Asthma Day, an opportunity for us all to take a moment to celebrate the progress we are making to improve the lives of those with asthma, and to prevent the onset of the disease in otherwise healthy people.
"The problem of asthma is, of course, sobering. Here in California over five million people – 1 in 7 – have been diagnosed with the disease. Meanwhile, we know that while asthma can affect everyone, it is a prime example of a healthy disparity. To take but one example: African-Americans in California have the highest asthma prevalence, 1 in 5 having been diagnosed with the disease.
"Despite the numbers, there is cause to be optimistic. Asthma advocates and stakeholders across California are continuing to tackle asthma head on, using tried and true methods consistent with good public health practice as well as new approaches that hold exciting promise.
"With the support of RAMP, asthma coalitions in the Community Action to Fight Asthma Network are leading World Asthma Day activities in communities across the state with the goal of increasing awareness about asthma, asthma disparities, and the social and environmental inequities that lead to those disparities. Activities will be occurring throughout the month of May and include such things as: an “Asthma Trigger Tour” of a South Los Angeles apartment building to demonstrate the impact of asthma triggers associated with slum housing; provider education in communities across the state; public service announcements in movie theaters in Stanislaus County; poster contests throughout the Central Valley, providing opportunities for youth to engage in asthma education; the development of a video about reducing bleach in child care settings in San Francisco; health fairs; and proclamations in city councils across the state acknowledging World Asthma Day. Our hope is that this collection of activities provides useful information and resources relevant to specific communities while also creating a statewide message about the importance of asthma and the value in addressing the inequities that contribute to asthma disparities. To get in touch with an effort in your area, click here.
"In addition to these local efforts, with leadership from RAMP, the CAFA Network is advocating for a number of policies at the regional and state levels. Recognizing state policy plays a big role in the quality of our environments, we are supporting bills that would reduce outdoor air pollution and protect disproportionately burdened communities, promote affordable housing (giving people a safe, healthy place to live), and encourage healthy indoor air quality in schools. For a full list of the policies, please visit our current policies page.
"RAMP also continues to make sure that federal support for asthma is protected. At a time when asthma continues to burden far too many of our families and communities, we need all of the help we can get. Recent budget proposals for the 2013 fiscal year would once again gut efforts like the National Asthma Control Program and Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health Across the U.S. RAMP continues to work with our Congressional allies to protect these programs; we will let you know when your voice is also needed.
"Given RAMP’s long history of sharing promising and best practices with the asthma field through the Digest and other forums, this message wouldn’t be complete without a couple of timely announcements about events designed to increase our capacity to address asthma. See the end of this message for more details.
"Finally, I would thank you for all of your efforts to manage and prevent asthma, and create healthier families and communities for us all".