Boston Childrens Community Asthma Initiative Honored by EPA

Boston, Mass. -- The Community Asthma Initiative (CAI) at Children's Hospital Boston has been selected to receive the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's(EPA) 2010 National Environmental Leadership Award in Asthma Management for their exemplary efforts to deliver high-quality asthma care that includes environmental controls.

This national award recognizes exceptional asthma management programs that are using innovative approaches to improve patient health and quality of life. Award winners are recognized for demonstrating that comprehensive asthma care with a strong environmental component can dramatically improve health outcomes for people with asthma.

"CAI delivers critically needed help to thousands of Boston families dealing with the everyday challenges of asthma," says M. Laurie Cammisa, vice president of Child Advocacy. "This award from the EPA truly validates for Children's the importance of this kind of innovative work in Boston."

Asthma is a widespread chronic disease affecting millions of children everyday, and is the leading cause of hospitalization at Children's. Seventy percent of the patients hospitalized at Children's for asthma are from the Boston neighborhoods of Roxbury, Jamaica Plain, Dorchester, Roslindale and Hyde Park. Children's launched CAI in response to alarmingly high rates of asthma among children in particularly hard hit neighborhoods of Boston.

In partnership with key community organizations, CAI delivers case management, facilitates improved primary care, conducts home visits and environmental interventions, and advocates for policy changes to help improve the health and quality of life for children with poorly controlled asthma.

"EPA is recognizing the Community Asthma Initiative of Children's Hospital Boston for their outstanding efforts to reduce the burden of asthma for families in their communities," said Mike Flynn, Director of EPA's Office of Radiation and Indoor Air. "This program is achieving positive environmental and health outcomes, and EPA applauds their innovation and dedication to controlling asthma."

Children's CAI is one of only five programs to receive EPA's prestigious award this year.

"We are so proud of the CAI team members who have worked hard to help families improve their quality of life by providing individualized asthma education, addressing environmental issues and increasing the use of daily control medications - all in our local neighborhoods," says Elizabeth Woods, MD, CAI director. "We are thrilled that the 81% reduction in asthma admissions and 65% reduction in emergency department visits have persisted in spite of the H1N1 epidemic and increased respiratory illnesses this year."

EPA will present the award to CAI at the Communities in Action National Asthma Forum in Washington, D.C., on June 17, 2010. For more information about EPA's National Environmental Leadership Award in Asthma Management, visit

For children participating in CAI after one year, recent data reflects the number of emergency department visits at Children's was reduced by 65 percent and hospital admissions by 81 percent. In addition, lost school days were reduced by 41 percent and missed work days (parents/caregivers) by 55 percent.

For more information about CAI, visit

Asthma facts & figures

  • More than 140,000 children in Massachusetts are being treated for asthma.
  • More than 20 million people in the U.S., including 9 million children under 18, have been diagnosed with asthma.
  • Asthma is the most common chronic condition among children in the U.S and accounts for 14 million absences from school each year.
  • Asthma is the leading cause of hospitalizations at Children's Hospital Boston, with more than 9,400 asthma patients being treated each year.
  • Seventy percent of the patients hospitalized at Children's for asthma are from the Boston neighborhoods of Roxbury, Jamaica Plain, Dorchester, Roslindale and Hyde Park.
  • Latino and Black children are particularly vulnerable to asthma; admission rates for minority children are five times that of white children.

Jaime Crespo

Founded in 1869 as a 20-bed hospital for children, Children's Hospital Boston today is the nation's leading pediatric medical center, the largest provider of health care to Massachusetts children, and the primary pediatric teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School. In addition to 396 pediatric and adolescent inpatient beds and comprehensive outpatient programs, Children's houses the world's largest research enterprise based at a pediatric medical center, where its discoveries benefit both children and adults. More than 1,100 scientists, including nine members of the National Academy of Sciences, 12 members of the Institute of Medicine and 13 members of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute comprise Children's research community. For more information about the hospital