State Health Commissioner Novello Announces Nearly Million in the Fight Against Childhood Asthma

ALBANY, NY, February 8, 2006 - State Health Commissioner Antonia C. Novello, M.D., M.P.H., Dr.P.H., today announced that nearly $2 million has been awarded to 11 Regional Coalitions across New York State in the fight against childhood asthma. Under this initiative, each Regional Childhood Asthma Coalition received $180,000 to assist the families of children with asthma in the management and control of this disease.

"Although there is no cure for this health condition, asthma attacks can be prevented or controlled with proper care," said Dr. Novello. "The coalitions are an important link to advancing the coordinated efforts and work of health care providers, health plans, community-based organizations, local health departments and schools to help children with asthma live healthier, more active lives. It is imperative that we reach children at a young age and ensure that they have access to the health care they need."

Asthma is a chronic disease of the lungs and occurs at any age, but is more common in youth. Nationally, nearly 1 in 13 school-age children have asthma.

In New York State, asthma affects over 1.6 million adults and 387,000 children. During 2000-2002 an average of 338 deaths occurred per year due to asthma, including 17 deaths in children ages 0-14. New York State residents averaged over 39,000 hospitalizations during 2000-2002, including 14,000 asthma hospitalizations among children ages 0-14.

The Department's comprehensive programs to raise asthma awareness and help families manage the disease have helped to reduce asthma-related hospitalizations for children and teens under the age of 18 from 53.8 cases per 10,000 in 1993 to 31.4 cases per 10,000 in 2002, representing a 42 percent decrease.

The Coalitions will monitor and report outcomes that prove effective in controlling asthma and will also work to decrease asthma related mortality, hospitalizations, emergency department visits, and the number of school days missed.

The organizations receiving grant awards under this initiative include:

  • Erie County Department of Health on behalf of Western NY Public Health Alliance
  • Whitney M. Young Jr. Health Center, Inc.
  • The Trustees of Columbia University
  • HHC/Woodhull Medical Center
  • Bronx-Lebanon Hospital Center
  • American Lung Association of New York State, Inc.- Hudson Valley
  • American Lung Association of New York State, Inc.- Long Island
  • American Lung Association of New York State, Inc.- North Country
  • American Lung Association of New York State, Inc.- Finger Lakes
  • American Lung Association of New York State, Inc.- Central New York
  • American Lung Association of New York State, Inc.- Southern Tier

For more information about asthma or the management of asthma, please contact the local coalition in your area or visit the State Department of Health's web site at: