NEW ORLEANS, October 20, 2011 The disappearance of reliable healthcare services in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina left many children with asthma no choice but to seek treatment in emergency rooms across town if they sought care at all. Xavier University of Louisiana's Center for Minority Health & Health Disparities Research and Education (CMHDRE), Daughters of Charity Services of New Orleans (DCSNO) and the Children's Health Fund (CHF) have teamed up to reverse that trend by bringing reliable health care directly to these children. The organizations are partnering on the second phase of Head-off Environmental Asthma in Louisiana (HEAL), a program that has been helping New Orleans families manage their children's asthma since Katrina struck. The program is funded by non-profit Merck Childhood Asthma Network, Inc. (MCAN) and The Merck Company Foundation.
HEAL Phase II, a four-year program aimed at improving childhood asthma management in New Orleans, will use a unique, well-documented approach to deliver care through community health centers and mobile clinics placed in neighborhoods that lack a central source of healthcare. This approach is especially important given the burden of asthma on New Orleans' children. Asthma prevalence rates in New Orleans are three times higher than the national rate among the highest in the nation and death rates from childhood asthma are the highest in Louisiana.
"We are doing something that's never been done in New Orleans because waiting for things to return to 'normal' just wasn't an option for kids with asthma," said Leonard Jack, Jr., Ph.D., MSc, CHES, Director of the CMHDRE, Xavier University and principal investigator for HEAL Phase II. "Innovation and science-based approaches are crucial in post-Katrina New Orleans, where thousands now have the daunting task of managing health conditions like asthma in the absence of consistent healthcare and in the face of new environmental challenges."
|Contact: Kimberly Wise|
The Merck Childhood Asthma Network, Inc.