Learners Take Action: Reducing Asthma Disparities through Adult Basic Education

Dates: 2012-2014

States: Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont

Client(s): Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

Service: Training & Technical Assistance

Technical Expertise: Environmental Health, Healthy Communities, Health Disparities, Maternal and Child Health

According to a National Health Interview Survey conducted by CDC in 2007, over 16 million adults and almost 7 million children in the United States suffer from asthma. Asthma disproportionately affects certain socio-economic, ethnic and racial groups that also suffer disparities in access to information and care. Adult Basic Education (ABE) programs constitute a highly efficient resource for reducing asthma disparities by reaching and supporting low-income, immigrant and minority populations that are less educated, and at higher risk of indoor air exposures that contribute to asthma.

The Learners Take Action: Reducing Asthma Disparities through Adult Basic Education project developed and disseminated lessons on asthma and healthy homes designed for ABE classes across the 6 New England states. The lessons will increase environmental health literacy among adults with limited English proficiency that are enrolled in ABE or English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) classes whose families are at high risk of asthma. Students will be provided with tools and strategies to identify and take action to reduce asthma trigger factors that particularly affect the health of children.

JSI, in consultation with an Advisory Committee, prepared lessons structured around asthma education for ABE learners. JSI also developed a teacher training program for ABE practitioners who will use the lessons in their classes.

This unique education and outreach model addressed EPA Region 1’s priorities to prevent exposure to indoor asthma triggers among high-risk populations in communities that are disproportionately impacted by environmental issues through education and training among students attending ABE classes in the states of Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine, Connecticut, and Rhode Island.


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