Coordinated Federal Action Plan to Reduce Racial and Ethnic Asthma Disparities Action Plan Released

Several federal agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency, Health and Human Services, and Housing and Urban Development released the “Coordinated Federal Action Plan to Reduce Racial and Ethnic Asthma Disparities.” Given RAMP’s interest in the reduction of disparities, we’re encouraged about the release of the Plan, as its goal is to reduce the burden of asthma especially among those hit hardest by the disease. While the details remain to be seen, we’re optimistic that the Plan “emphasizes priority actions that demonstrate a high positive impact on addressing preventable factors that lead to asthma disparities,” and includes a variety of strategies to do so. Specifically, the plan aims to:

  • Reduce barriers to asthma care: Ensure that the populations most severely impacted by asthma receive comprehensive care, which includes access to medical services, education and environmental interventions.
  • Build local capacity: Empower communities to get the right care with the right support to the right children.
  • Target services: Identify the children, families and communities most impacted by asthma disparities.
  • Accelerate prevention efforts: Research and tests ways to prevent the onset of asthma.

To see a press release regarding the Plan, click here. You can download a one page overview or the full plan here.

Last week RAMP’s Director, Anne Kelsey Lamb, was interviewed on the Bay Area’s NPR station about the Plan. You can listen to it here.

While one guiding principle of the Action Plan is enhancing coordination among federal agencies, it also points to the need to build on existing and effective federal programs and partnerships. We think such an approach points to the continuing need for federal programs that support state, local and community efforts. Two such programs are the National Asthma Control Program (NACP) and Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health Across the U.S. (REACH US).

Ironically, the President’s budget proposes to either eliminate or reduce funding for both the NACP and REACH, making it harder to advance this priority health initiative. We’re hopeful, of course, that funding for these two programs can be reinstated with support from advocates like you in the upcoming federal appropriations process.