Policy Priorities

policy priorities

Through RAMP’s work with clinicians, community and health advocates, local asthma coalitions, and other stakeholders, RAMP has developed policy priorities that reflect the need to comprehensively address clinical and environmental dimensions of asthma.  Priority areas include clinical care, outdoor air quality, housing, and schools.  RAMP’s priorities for influencing and shaping local, regional, and state level policies in each area are outlined below.

Stable and Healthy Housing

Housing quality has a significant impact on asthma. Substandard housing conditions such as mold, cockroaches, and rodents are major asthma triggers that disproportionately impact the same low-income communities and communities of color most burdened by the disease. To address this challenge, RAMP has advanced policies related to mold, pests, and pesticide use in rental housing with our partners in the California Healthy Housing Coalition (CHHC). After successfully targeting specific asthma triggers in recent years, we and our CHHC partners are targeting policies aimed at:

  • Slumlords and repeat code violators
  • Resources supporting code enforcement efforts
  • Proactive rental housing inspection programs

Recognizing housing quality is an essential component of the housing stability necessary for healthy and equitable communities, RAMP has partnered with key public health, tenant rights, and affordable housing developers to form the California Housing + Health Equity Network. Through this cross-sector partnership, we support efforts to:

  • Ensure tenants are protected from displacement,
  • Expand investment in affordable housing, and
  • Prevent substandard housing from serving as a substitute for affordable housing.

Outdoor Air Quality and Land Use Planning

As a result of unjust policies, investments and planning decisions, low-income communities and communities of color are inequitably exposed to air pollution, which can exacerbate asthma and contribute to the onset of the disease. While there are many sources of air pollution, RAMP focuses on those sources that inequitably impact low-income communities and communities of color—for example, diesel pollution from the freight transportation sector, including ports, rail yards, freeways and distribution centers. RAMP also focuses on policies that address cumulative impacts, meaning the combined impact of pollution from multiple sources.

Currently RAMP is working with partners to:

  • Shape California’s Community Air Protection Program to maximize benefits for low-income communities and communities of color.
  • Prioritize health and equity within local, regional and state freight transportation plans.
  • Influence climate-related investments to increase co-benefits for people with asthma.

Health Care Equity

Prevention plays a fundamental role in asthma management. Yet prevention-oriented services are not systematically accessible to the low-income communities and communities of color who need them most.

RAMP advocates for sustainable financing to support the integration of prevention-oriented services into the health care system, focusing on MediCal given the disproportionate impact of asthma on low-income communities. RAMP also builds the capacity of a diverse asthma workforce to implement a comprehensive approach to asthma management and prevention through, among other things, policy change.

Healthy Schools

One in five Californians spend a part of their day in a school. During their time at school, students, teachers, and staff can be exposed to numerous asthma triggers, affecting their ability to learn, teach, and be productive. Common problems encountered at schools include inadequate ventilation, moisture and mold, emissions from furnishings, cleaning products, and teaching supplies, dust, and pesticides. Priorities include:

  • Promoting asthma management and support systems.
  • Encouraging cleaning and maintenance practices that improve indoor air quality.
  • Limiting sources of air pollution near school campuses.

School-based health centers also serve an important role in helping children breathe easier. Research shows that SBHC users are less likely to visit the ED or to be hospitalized for asthma. In addition to providing quality clinical care and education, many school-based health centers have also become leaders in managing the environmental factors that make asthma worse. As such, an additional priority is:

  • Increasing the capacity of school-based health center staff to engage in environmental asthma interventions.

To view tools available for SBHCs and case studies of SBHCs that are already leaders in the field, click here.
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