East Palo Alto Asthma Task Force

The East Palo Alto (EPA) Asthma Task Force was formed in response to the disproportionately high asthma rates in EPA. 

In San Mateo County, East Palo Alto has the highest hospitalization rate for children 0-14 (25.8/10,000  [1]); almost double the county’s average (13.08/10,000). [2]

 In comparison to San Mateo County, E.PA also has higher percentages of each of the aforementioned populations vulnerable to asthma. [3]

 EPA Asthma Task Force has a broad-based membership including city and county agencies, medical and health professionals, community-based organizations, environmental organizations, school district staff, child-care coordinating agencies, and community members who meet on the first Tuesdays of every month.

Successes include:

 Completed an EPA Childhood Asthma Needs Assessment in January 2006 that highlighted the need for:

  • Increased number of school nurses
  • Increased number of Community Health Workers who can visit homes and bridge gap between patients and providers
  • Improved communication between schools, child care providers, parents and health care providers with Asthma Action Plans
  • Building maintenance to reduce asthma triggers (mold, mildew, dust mites and pests) in homes and schools
  • Asthma education for patients, care-givers and health care providers
    • Culturally appropriate education materials for patients and families
    • Continuing education for health care providers to increase identification of children with asthma and improve case management skills.
    • Continuing education for child care providers and teachers to recognize asthma symptoms and respond to emergencies

Implemented utilization of high-quality asthma action plans for children with asthma in the Ravenswood City School District (RCSD)

Implemented pilot home visiting program with El Concilio of San Mateo.

Secured several grants including $19,000 Environmental Protection Agency grant to implement Tools for Schools Indoor Air Quality program.

  •  The EPA Asthma Task Force and its members are currently working on:
  •  Increasing the standard of asthma care for East Palo Alto residents by training health care providers and community health workers on asthma education and case management (Breathe California, San Mateo County Health Department, Health Plan of San Mateo).
  • Training RCSD teachers, staff, children and parents in asthma awareness and management. (RCSD, Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital)
  • Training child care providers to train other child care providers about asthma (Breathe California, San Mateo County Health Department and Child Care Coordinating Council of San Mateo County)
  • Measuring lung function in local children with asthma (Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital, RCSD)
  • Providing RCSD children asthma free mattress pads to reduce dust mite triggers in homes and free peak flow meters to monitor asthma control (RCSD, Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital, California Endowment).
  • Informing property owners and tenants about health hazards of mold and lead. (San Mateo County Health Department, City of East Palo Alto, Environmental Protection Agency)
  • Improving school asthma policies statewide through participation in the California Department of Education’s Asthma and Allergy Work Group

 For more information about East Palo Alto Asthma Task Force, contact:

Breathe California at 650-994-1903 x323 or anjali@ggbreathe.org

[1] Shendell DG and Roberts ER. October 2004.  CAFA Asthma Advocacy Data Book.  Oakland, CA:  Community Action to Fight Asthma, State Coordinating Office, page 97

[2] Stockman JK et al.  p. 13

[3] US Census Bureau American FactFinder.  Internet, accessed 10/20/06  http://factfinder.census.gov/