Addressing pediatric asthma in Greensboro

Posted on May 19, 2016

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Greensboro to join innovative, national program to improve health in low-income neighborhoods 

Greensboro is one of 50 cities selected to take part in a new, national community health focused initiative. As part of the program, Greensboro will address the city’s pediatric asthma rate, which disproportionately affects low-income children.

Invest Health, a collaboration of the Reinvestment Fund and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, aims to transform how leaders from mid-size American cities work together to help low-income communities thrive, with specific attention to community features that drive health, such as access to safe and affordable housing.

A team representing the City of Greensboro, Cone Health, East Market Street Development Corporation, Greensboro Housing Coalition and The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG) applied for grant funding to improve the availability of safe, affordable housing for families living with asthma.

The team’s proposal was selected from 180 proposals representing 170 different cities across the nation. Over the next 18 months, Greensboro’s Invest Health team will receive a $60,000 grant, take part in a vibrant learning community and have access to highly skilled faculty advisors and coaches who will guide their efforts toward improved health.

“Greensboro’s asthma rate is influenced by higher than average poverty and uninsured rates,” explained Dr. Stephen Sills, director of the UNCG Center for Housing and Community Studies.

More than 19,000, or 29.3 percent, of children in Greensboro live in households below the poverty level, and a majority of those homes are not safe for children with asthma.

“These families have few options in terms of affordable and healthy housing, which consigns over 6,000 children with asthma to live in places that make them sick,” Sills said. “Strong evidence has linked plumbing or roof leaks, inadequate ventilation, faulty or inoperative exhaust systems, unclean floors and other surfaces, presence of rodents or cockroaches and building structure issues to subsequent asthma incidence and morbidity.”