ACHP Offers Hope for Inner-city Children with Asthma

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Alliance of Community Health Plans (ACHP) have announced the awarding of $2.9 million in contract funds to 23 sites to improve the health of inner-city children with asthma. These funds will enable community-based health organizations to widely implement a scientifically proven asthma intervention program.

“We are excited that these quality improvement activities, funded through CDC and administered by ACHP, will serve to ultimately reduce the sickness and suffering of children with asthma,” said Daniel B. Wolfson, president and CEO of ACHP.

The key component of the intervention is using an asthma counselor who tailors the intervention to the needs of the children with asthma, and who works closely with the affected families for an extended period of time. Participating counselors are professional social workers who will help families address a wide variety of problems which will include both the physical and emotional aspects of asthma.

Asthma has a greater impact on low income and minority families as evidenced by the greater frequency of severe asthma episodes that lead to hospitalization or death. This project is directed toward organizations that treat low-income inner-city children, particularly those children enrolled in Medicaid or the State Children’s Health Insurance Plan (SCHIP). Over the course of the intervention, ACHP will provide project oversight and guidance to the sites and review quarterly updates provided by sites.

The core intervention will involve both group and individual training sessions with the child and family. This training will educate the child and the family on the causes of asthma including the various environmental factors that can trigger it. Families will learn specific methods that they can implement to control asthma and minimize those triggers. After the initial education component, families will work with individual counselors to tailor an intervention plan based on their specific circumstances. The counselors will focus on the environment, school, and special adherence training as needed. Counselors will also provide continuous follow-up with the families to support necessary changes in behavior.

This project supports the HHS strategic plan, “Action Against Asthma,” which identifies as part of its framework the need to develop and implement interventions to reduce the burden of asthma, to eliminate its disproportionate health burden in minority populations and those living in poverty, and to assess the effectiveness of asthma programs. This asthma intervention program is based on the National Collaborative Inner City Asthma Study, NCICAS, developed by National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, NIAID. NCICAS is the largest asthma study ever completed of children in the inner city.

ACHP includes 22 leading non-investor owned and provider-based health plans serving more than eight million Americans in 23 states and the District of Columbia. Established in 1984, ACHP supports its member plans’ ongoing efforts to improve the health of their members and communities.


The contract award recipients include the following organizations:

University of Alabama/Children’s Health Systems/Children’s Harbor Family
Center, Birmingham

El Rio Health Center, Tucson
St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center, Phoenix

Children’s Asthma Consortium in Long Beach, Long Beach

Health Choice Network, Inc, Miami

Cook County Hospital, Chicago

Baystate Medical Center, Springfield

Johns Hopkins Medical Services Corporation, Baltimore

American Lung Association of Minnesota, Saint Paul

Children’s Mercy Hospital and Clinics, Kansas
Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis

Jackson-Hinds Comprehensive Health Center, Jackson

North Carolina
WakeMed, Raleigh

New Jersey
Saint Barnabas Health Care System, West Orange

New York
Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University, Bronx
Bronx-Lebanon Hospital Center, Bronx
Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York
University at Buffalo, SUNY, Buffalo

Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital, Cleveland

CareOregon, Multnomah County

Parkland Health and Hospital System, Dallas
University of Texas/Health Science Center at San Antonio, San Antonio

Washington, DC
Howard University