Community Asthma Initiative

The Boston Children’s Hospital Community Asthma Initiative (CAI) was developed to help improve the health and quality of life of children with asthma and their families. Since asthma hospitalizations and Emergency Department visits are disproportionately high for African-American and Latino children, the hospital wanted to address this important health disparity.

CAI serves children who live in Boston, are 2 to 18 years old and have been either seen in Boston Children’s Emergency Department or hospitalized for asthma.  We also accept referrals from primary care providers and asthma specialists within the hospital’s network.

Our program works with each family to understand their child’s asthma and the medications used to treat it, and to identify and reduce asthma triggers in the home and other places where the child spends time.

CAI also works with partners and coalitions to address asthma health disparities through changes in policies at the local and state levels.

Click here to learn about Joel's experience with the Community Asthma Initiative.

Download our Program Replication Manual.


As of December 2016, there are over 1,769 patients who have enrolled in the Community Asthma Initiative. So far their involvement has led to:

  • 80% reduction in the percentage of patients with asthma-related hospitalization
  • 58% reduction in the percentage of patients with Emergency Department visits
  • 45% reduction in the percentage of patients with missed school days for children
  • 53% reduction in the percentage of patients with lost work days for parents



Policy Advocacy

  • We work in coalitions to improve both housing and school environmental conditions that often trigger a child’s asthma.
  • With partners we seek to ensure that asthma education, home-visiting services, devices and environmental supplies, such as HEPA vacuum cleaners, will be covered by health insurance, as needed.
  • We are working with other asthma home-visiting groups in the city to establish home-visiting standards and a trained workforce that can serve the diverse and multilingual community in Boston. We are also working with groups in other parts of the country to bring similar services to their communities.