Long Beach-Los Angeles Harbor communities fight asthma with new digital tool

Residents of Long Beach-Los Angeles (LB-LA) Harbor can now access an online tool to protect themselves from asthma attacks and air pollution. Spearheaded by local health organizations, the Fight Asthma Tracker alerts asthma patients to manage their health when asthma danger is high with an interactive website and phone text messages.

“The Fight Asthma Tracker puts data tools in the hands of pollution-burdened community members whose health and quality of life are at stake,” said Sylvia Betancourt, Program Manager for the Long Beach Alliance for Children with Asthma (LBACA), part of MemorialCare Miller Children’s & Women’s Hospital Long Beach. “The real-time tools with coordinated education equip community members to make informed decisions about their daily outdoor activities and improve asthma self-management to prevent asthma emergencies from pollution exposure.”

Users can monitor in real-time the environmental conditions linked with asthma hospitalizations in LB-LA Harbor on the fightasthmalaharbor.info website and receive text messages in English or Spanish when asthma attack risks are high.

Developed by SmartAirLA with guidance from LBACA, the Tracker also pinpoints pollution hotspots in the neighborhoods with high asthma hospitalization and school absenteeism rates for clean air initiatives. LBACA led a coalition of LB-LA Harbor health and environmental organizations that identified the pollution hotspots.

“The LBACA-SmartAirLA partnership exemplifies our community-based efforts to improve the health of children throughout our region,” said Graham Tse, M.D., Chief Medical Officer, Miller Children’s & Women’s. “We’re grateful to our partners for supporting the development of this vital tool that will assist thousands of families working to manage their child’s asthma at home.”

The LB-LA Harbor is one of the most polluted areas in the country according to the American Lung Association. The USC Children’s Health Study found that children breathing polluted air in communities, such as Long Beach, are five times as likely to have clinically low lung function than children who breathe clean air.

The Tracker is part of the Fight Asthma Long Beach-Los Angeles Harbor initiative supported by the Blue Shield of California Foundation and Knight Foundation. Advancement Project California provided data visualization services.

“We’re proud to support the people of the Long Beach-Los Angeles Harbor as they build momentum for clean air,” said Rachel Wick, senior program officer for Blue Shield of California Foundation, “Their strength as a community is a powerful force for health equity.”

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Long Beach Alliance for Children with Asthma (LBACA) is a community coalition dedicated to improving the lives of children with asthma in the greater Long Beach area. LBACA’s long-term goal is to improve clinical outcomes for children with asthma including the reduction in preventable hospitalizations, emergency department visits, missed school days & caregiver missed work days due to asthma, and enhanced quality of life measures. LBACA is part of MemorialCare Miller Children’s & Women’s Hospital Long Beach, which was recently recognized for the third time for its model of asthma care. Miller Children’s & Women’s remains the only free-standing children’s hospital in California, and only one of 13 hospitals in the nation, to receive the Disease Specific Certification in Pediatric Asthma from The Joint Commission. This re-certification denotes the highest honor for quality and excellence in patient care for children with asthma. Miller Children’s & Women’s was also ranked among the top children’s hospitals for Pediatric Pulmonology & Lung Surgery in the 2020-21 Best Children’s Hospitals U.S. News & World Report rankings.

SmartAirLA is a public-private partnership to empower underserved communities in Los Angeles suffering from pollution with the data and technology to improve their health and environment. We are recognized as the Most Innovative Project to Improve the Safety-Net by the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services and the Community Clinic Association of Los Angeles County.

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