California Breathing (CB), the asthma program in the California Department of Public Health, works to improve the respiratory health of Californians and reduce asthma-related health disparities through education and environmental interventions where we live, work, learn, and play. Its work is guided by Strategic Plan for Asthma in California, a document encompassing all aspects of asthma-related research, policy and services. CB has a 17-year history of funding from the CDC National Asthma Program.
CB provides numerous services to the state’s asthma and health communities. Among these are:
Leadership: CB promotes statewide coordination of asthma activities, partnerships, and communications. CB led the development and revision of the Strategic Plan for Asthma in California, coordinates a statewide collaboration of key asthma stakeholders, holds a bi-annual asthma research summit to disseminate research findings, and participates on several California coalitions that address asthma issues.
Surveillance: CB maintains an extensive asthma surveillance system that incorporates state and local asthma data from multiple data sources.
Health Services: CB works to expand access to comprehensive asthma control services through home- and school-based strategies.
Health Systems: CB works with the California Department of Health Care Services and health care organizations to improve coverage, delivery, and use of clinical and other asthma services, and to implement the California Wellness Plan.
Schools: CB provides resources for asthma management and environmental quality specifically designed for schools, including videos, tool kits, and curriculum.
Housing: CB trains diverse stakeholders (e.g. public health, environmental health, code enforcement, housing and lead inspectors, and property managers) on healthy housing principles.
Asthma in California: A Surveillance Report. This report presents a comprehensive picture of the burden of asthma in the state, compiling much of the available asthma surveillance data into a single resource.
Reports: Documents including the Strategic Plan for Asthma in California, Healthy Housing Report, Climate Change Presentation, and others.
Fact Sheets: Documents on a variety of asthma-related topics, including pests, school absenteeism, obesity, emergency room visits, mold, disparities, cleaning products and code enforcement.
Child Care Guide: Comprehensive information for child care providers and parents of preschoolers with asthma
Collaborations: information created by coalitions in which staff participate, including California Asthma Partners, California Health Housing Coalition, and SEHAC
How we meet the SPAC objectives
California Breathing works to meet these objectives as stated in the Strategic Plan for Asthma in California, 2015 – 2019:
5A.1 Facilitate the establishment and implementation of comprehensive asthma policies and procedures in districts and schools to ensure the health and well-being of students and staff with asthma.
5A.2 Advocate for school and district implementation of, and compliance with, existing laws and regulations that impact asthma; recommend new laws/regulations or changes to existing ones, as needed.
5A.3. Increase the number of qualified personnel in K-12 schools and districts to better meet the needs of students and staff with asthma and all school visitors.
5A.4. Institute targeted and specialized trainings for district and school personnel on asthma management and indoor environmental quality in K-12 schools, to include health personnel, administrators, teachers, front office staff, coaches, maintenance/facility personnel, food preparation workers, and bus drivers.
5A.5. Minimize exposure to contaminated outdoor air and promote safe and
healthy outdoor school environments.
5A.6. Advocate for the resources, financial and otherwise, to support asthma management and healthy indoor environmental quality in schools.
Scott Kessler, MA