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Asthma screening and early intervention in a low-income Hispanic population living in a designated environmental justice area of Los Angeles

Patrick Dowling, MD, MPH and Glenn A. Lopez, MD. Department of Family Medicine, UCLA, 10833 Le Conte Ave. 50-078 CHS, Los Angeles, CA 90095, (818) 314-1738, glennlopez@mednet.ucla.edu

Numerous studies regarding the prevalence and increasing incidence of asthma have caused the NIH to declare childhood asthma in minority populations a national health priority. Minority populations, including Hispanic, experience a disproportionate burden in deaths and disability due to asthma, yet state and national surveys show lower asthma prevalence among Hispanic children. Researchers note that these lower asthma prevalence rates may reflect reduced access to health care services in this population; nonetheless data regarding asthma prevalence rates among Hispanic populations remains scarce. The LA community of Sun Valley is 68.8% Latino with 40% uninsured and 43% of the children living below the federal poverty level. It is devoid of public/community health services and is situated in a recently designated environmental justice area due to the high concentration of contaminating industries. The UCLA Department of Family Medicine implemented an Asthma Screening and Early Intervention Program at Sun Valley Middle School (94% Hispanic student population) to expand and improve the diagnosis and management of childhood asthma. Screening of 2200 students has revealed a baseline asthma symptom prevalence of 5.9% and, with the program intervention, of 12.5%; undiagnosed asthma at SVMS is 53%. These asthma symptom prevalence rates are significantly higher than the 4% reported by the LAC-DHS for Hispanic children. The program has stimulated the school, local industries, and community leaders to improve access to health care for Sun Valley children.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Asthma, Hispanic Youth

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

Innovative Strategies to Promote Access to Services

The 132nd Annual Meeting (November 6-10, 2004) of APHA