Seattle, WA -- The King County Asthma Forum was awarded $149,811 by The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to combat asthma in Central and South Seattle and Southwest King County. The King County Asthma Forum will use this award for the first year of a four-year effort to reduce asthma symptoms, improve access to and quality of clinical care, and foster patient, professional and community education.
After a year to plan our activities with community participation, the Forum coalition will be eligible for a three-year implementation grant of up to $1.35 million to serve children with asthma in the target area. These funds will be from The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation along with additional Medicaid and Public Health — Seattle & King County matching funds and in-kind contributions from other coalition partners. "The grant will jumpstart our efforts to reduce the impact of asthma on our most vulnerable children and their families. Our ideas for action include establishing a community asthma center which will help families, medical providers, and schools work more effectively together to control asthma and assure that families have the knowledge and resources they need," stated Jim Krieger, MD, MPH, Forum Chairperson.
Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease of the airways, affecting more than 14.9 million Americans, including an estimated 5 million children. The area of the County targeted by the grant has a high rate of asthma hospitalization among children and significant cultural and socioeconomic barriers to asthma management. From 1994-1998, the average asthma hospitalization rate per 100,000 for children in this area was 418.9, compared to 213.2 for King County and 334.1 for Seattle. Between 1988 and 1995, the hospitalization rate in this area increased 62%. New data on asthma trends in King County will be released at the press conference held at 11am on Jan 30th at the Central Area Health Care Center.
"This is exciting news for all of us in King County," according to Ron Sims, King County Executive. "I know what it is like to not be able to breathe as a result of an asthma attack. This grant will, for the first time, allow development of a comprehensive plan to help children with asthma by uniting their families, their health care providers, their schools and the community."
Asthma disproportionately affects low-income and minority kids. Low-income children are more than twice as likely to suffer from asthma as other children. In addition, 7% of white children as compared to 11% of non-white children report having asthma.
The grant made to the King County Asthma Forum is one of eight made under the Foundation's Allies Against Asthma program. The goal of the program, which is administered by the University of Michigan School of Public Health, "is to tackle the problem of asthma through coalitions that integrate clinical, environmental and community-derived approaches," said Program Director Noreen M. Clark, Ph.D.
Local participants in the Coalition include the American Lung Association of Washington, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of American, Public Health — Seattle & King County, school districts, community health centers, Seattle University, the University of Washington, and many others. A complete directory of Forum participants can be found on the King County Asthma Forum website.
Other communities receiving Allies Against Asthma planning grants include, Albuquerque, Bernalillo County, NM; Hampton Roads, VA; Long Beach, CA; Milwaukee, WI; Philadelphia, PA; Washington, DC; and San Juan, Puerto Rico.
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, based in Princeton, N.J. is the nation's largest philanthropy devoted exclusively to health and health care. It concentrates its grantmaking in three goal areas: to assure that all Americans have access to basic health care at reasonable cost; to improve care and support for people with chronic health conditions; and to reduce the personal, social and economic harm caused by substance abuse--tobacco, alcohol and illicit drugs.
Providing effective and innovative health and disease prevention services for over 1.8 million residents and visitors of King County, Public Health — Seattle & King County works for safer and healthier communities for everyone, every day.