Your support needed for federal asthma programs

15 December 2011

Dear asthma allies,

As we told you last week, we have arrived at a key moment in our work to protect federal support for asthma and we continue to need your help. In lieu of our normal Digest updates (which will resume in January), we hope you’ll take a moment to tell your elected officials to protect lung heath and reduce health disparities across the country.

This week Congress has been trying to finalize a large appropriations bill for this budget year. Unfortunately, several important federal programs for asthma, reducing health disparities, and public health are threatened. But it’s not too late – we can still protect these important efforts.

Your representatives in Congress need to hear from you now. Please take a moment to share your support for three important programs: the National Asthma Control Program, Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health Across the U.S., and the Prevention & Public Health Fund.

Background on these important programs

  • The National Asthma Control Program is the federal government’s most comprehensive approach to asthma that promotes a variety of approaches and supports efforts across agencies, at the state-level and in local communities. It should be fully funded and not consolidated with any other program.
  • Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health Across the U.S. (REACH) is a national, multilevel and multi-disciplinary program that serves as the cornerstone of federal government’s efforts to eliminate racial and ethnic disparities in health, including asthma (RAMP receives support from the program). REACH represents a wide range of community-based and culturally-relevant interventions tailored to the needs of each geographically specific racial/ethnic community. Given that the health status of people of color is increasingly going to shape the health status of the country as a whole, we cannot afford to dismantle the community infrastructure that has resulted in landmark achievements.
  • The Prevention & Public Health Fund, established by the Affordable Care Act, gives us a chance to turn our sick care system into a health care system. Preventing disease and injury is the most effective, common-sense way to improve health in the United States. Too often, however, we focus on treating disease and injury after they occur instead of preventing them – providing sick care instead of health care. The Fund will help turn this trend around.

What you can do to protect asthma and public health

We need you to make a quick phone call or send an email to your Congressional Representatives. You can find your Senators here and your House Representatives here. Below are some suggested talking points:

  • My name is [NAME] and I am [CALLING FROM/A VOLUNTEER WITH] _______[INSERT YOUR ORGANIZATION HERE].
  • I am [CALLING/WRITING] because I want my [Representative/Senator[to fight for asthma and public health. Specifically:
  • The National Asthma Control Program will help address the rising problem of asthma in our communities. The program should be fully funded and maintained as a stand alone program.
  • Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health Across the U.S., a program of the Centers for Disease Control, is one of our best efforts to shrink disparities in health. Given that the health status of people of color is increasingly going to shape the health status of the country as a whole, we cannot afford to dismantle the very community infrastructure that has resulted in landmark achievements.
  • Protect the Prevention and Public Health Fund, and use it only for its original purpose of preventing deaths and disease, including those caused by tobacco use.
  • Thank you for your time.

Finally, we would appreciate it if you would please forward any feedback you receive back to RAMP’s Associate Director, Joel Ervice, joel@rampasthma.org.

Thank you very much for your help,

Anne Lamb, MPH

Director

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