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Published:May 15th, 2006 07:17 EST
EPA Grant to Temple University Will Help Kids Manage Asthma

EPA Grant to Temple University Will Help Kids Manage Asthma

By SOP newswire

PHILADELPHIA – In celebration of Asthma Awareness Month, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency officials traveled to the Tanner Duckrey Elementary School in North Philadelphia today to announce the award of a $12,500 grant to Temple University in support its in-school asthma education program.

Asthma, the leading cause of long-term illness in children, has reached epidemic proportions in the U.S. – affecting about 20 million people. Children who live in inner cities are especially susceptible to asthma. In Philadelphia, 25,473 students were diagnosed with asthma (2003 Pennsylvania Dept. of Health). This represents 9.2 percent of student enrollment in Philadelphia, and is higher than the statewide average of 8.6 percent reported by 577 Pennsylvania school districts.

EPA’s goal is to eliminate asthma triggers in the home, such as second hand smoke, mold, pet dander, cockroaches and dust mites. “Every child deserves to lead a healthy and dynamic life, with fewer trips to the emergency room and fewer days lost from school,” said Donald S. Welsh, EPA mid-Atlantic regional administration. “We want to reinforce the understanding that asthma can be managed. We’re pleased to support Temple in getting this message out.”

Since 2002, Temple University has been involved in a groundbreaking partnership with four K-8 grade schools (Tanner Duckrey, Dunbar, Ferguson and Meade) neighboring its main campus in North Philadelphia.

“Temple’s Surroundcare initiative aims to improve health in our partnership schools, with a focus on education and prevention. It’s wonderful to collaborate with the EPA to address asthma, which is a severe problem for children and families in our neighborhoods,” said John DiPaolo, executive director of Temple Partnership Schools.

Temple and the School District of Philadelphia are partners in Temple University Partnership Schools and are working together to provide leadership and support to the neighborhood schools. The main objective of the partnership is to improve instruction and student learning by leveraging resources between partners. These schools are in one of the most disadvantaged areas in Philadelphia - more than 80 percent of students qualify for free or reduced-priced lunch.

The $12,500 grant will support the in-school asthma education program Temple University has initiated with the Tanner Duckrey School in North Philadelphia.

“We take care of our cars and our houses - shouldn't we have a greater regard for our bodies and the world we live in,” said Dr. Dionne Cash, director of Temple’s asthma educators.

The in-school asthma education program will teach one-on-one asthmatic students and their parents/care givers the importance of managing and abating of asthma triggers in their surroundings. The target population will be approximately 40 students under a doctor’s care for asthmatic symptoms. The program will also help parents, caregivers, classroom teachers and other staff members, as well as the school nursing staff.

Temple will partner with Healthier Babies Healthier Futures, Inc. and use the Child Asthma Link Line (PHMC/PAAA) to arrange home asthma trigger checks and to connect the school community to asthma services in North Philadelphia. This project will be integrated into the Temple Partnership School’s surround care initiative. Surround care promotes access to health care, social services, and behavioral support for partnership school students. The program’s asthma educators will teach asthmatic children one-on-one about managing and abating asthma triggers in their surroundings.