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AAFA has launched the Health Equity Advancement and Leadership (HEAL) program to address findings from its 2020 report about asthma disparities in America. Each year, the HEAL Innovation program will award funding and resources to four local, pilot, community-based asthma programs tailored to at-risk populations most impacted by asthma and will focus on needs of adults and teens. BACK PAGE Inhalation August 2022 35 AAFA launches HEAL Innovation to continue addressing asthma disparities identified in 2020 report New program will focus on community-based asthma programs for adults and teens Causes of asthma disparities According to e Allergy and Asthma Foundation of America (AAFA), "In the US, the burden of asthma falls disproportion- ately on low-income or racial and ethnic minority populations. Decades of research and public health data have extensively iden- tified disparities in asthma prev- alence, mortality and healthcare utilization along racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic lines." AAFA's website states that health disparities in asthma and allergy are due to: • Systemic racism (including bias in healthcare, segregation, discrimination and historical trauma) • Social determinants (such as socioeconomic status, educa- tion, neighborhood and physi- cal environment, employment, social support networks and access to healthcare) AAFA's report and call to action In 2020, AAFA, the world's old- est and largest non-profit patient organization for people with asthma, allergies and related conditions, published a 15-year update to its report, "Asthma Dis- parities in America: A Roadmap to Reducing Burden on Racial and Ethnic Minorities." Outlin- ing nearly 70 strategies to improve asthma health in underserved populations, it was intended "to serve as a national call to action to fix the social inequities caused by structural racism that continue to plague vulnerable, at-risk patients and families with asthma." New AAFA initiatives At the same time, AAFA began new collaborations to address asthma disparities. In 2020, in San Diego, CA, with support from Sanofi Genzyme and Regeneron, AAFA provided Rady Children's Hospital with a $200,000 grant to expand their AAFA Severe Asthma Program and their Com- munity Approach to Severe Asthma (CASA) program. CASA connects high-risk, low-income children and their families with trained com- munity health workers who help families find and reduce asthma triggers in the home. e health workers also provide free resources and allergen-control products to help reduce these triggers, in turn helping children gain control of their asthma and reduce emergency visits and hospitalizations. In 2021, AAFA formed two new collaborations in New York State. e first was with the New York State Energy Research and Devel- opment Authority (NYSERDA) to support the state's $30 million Building Better Homes and $40 million Buildings of Excellence Competition initiatives. ese programs work to provide car- bon-neutral homes with better air quality in disadvantaged com- munities. e AAFA collabora- tion also aims to raise awareness about the importance of indoor air quality and the ways it affects people with asthma and allergies throughout New York State.

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