Stu­dents de­liver mes­sage on asthma

Vis­i­tors to res­i­dents in hous­ing projects dis­cuss where to get help

Baltimore Sun Sunday - - NEWS - By Sarah Mee­han

About 50 stu­dents from Philadel­phia gath­ered Satur­day in East Bal­ti­more to can­vass pub­lic hous­ing projects and spread in­for­ma­tion about asthma and smok­ing ces­sa­tion pro­grams in the city.

The stu­dents, mem­bers of the na­tional Chris­tian or­ga­ni­za­tion Cru, vis­ited res­i­dents in Dou­glas, Perkins and La­trobe homes. They of­fered pam­phlets de­tail­ing the Com­mu­nity Asthma Pro­gram, a free pro­gram of the Bal­ti­more City Health Depart­ment, and a Johns Hop­kins Hos­pi­tal smok­ing ces­sa­tion pi­lot pro­gram.

The ef­fort is aimed at shar­ing pro­grams with res­i­dents that would im­prove fam­i­lies’ health by re­duc­ing asthma trig­gers, in­clud­ing smok­ing.

Es­corted by Bal­ti­more City Hous­ing Au­thor­ity em­ploy­ees, the stu­dents peeled off in groups of five or six to knock on doors, look­ing for fam­i­lies with chil­dren.

Korey Per­rin, Dou­glas Homes Ten­ant Coun­cil pres­i­dent, ac­com­pa­nied a small group of stu­dents through her court in the Dou­glas Homes de­vel­op­ment, where many doors they tried were unan­swered. Still, Per­rin said she hoped the pam­phlets they slipped into mail slots proved to be help­ful.

“Some of my ten­ants do have asthma; some of their kids suf­fer with asthma and we’re try­ing our best to get these pro­grams for these peo­ple so it can be bet­ter for them and so their kids can be healthy,” she said.

Chil­dren ages 1 to 18 are el­i­gi­ble for the health depart­ment’s asthma pro­gram, which pro­vides re­sources to help fam­i­lies re­duce asthma trig­gers in their homes. Chil­dren must have at least four days or one night with asthma symp­toms, or a hos­pi­tal­iza­tion due to asthma, to be el­i­gi­ble for the pro­gram.

If fam­i­lies qual­ify, health depart­ment em­ploy­ees will in­spect their homes for asthma trig­gers and pro­vide free sup­plies to help com­bat asthma symp­toms.

Maria Ba­coat, a pro­gram as­sis­tant for the health depart­ment’s asthma pro­gram, es­ti­mated it sees about 300 chil­dren a year.

In ad­di­tion to brochures about the asthma pro­gram, the vol­un­teers also handed out fliers ask­ing whether res­i­dents wanted to make a New Year’s res­o­lu­tion to quit smok­ing, with con­tact in­for­ma­tion for staff at Johns Hop­kins Hos­pi­tal who could help.

The stu­dents can­vass­ing, pri­mar­ily from Drexel Univer­sity, the Univer­sity of Penn­syl­va­nia and Tem­ple Univer­sity, were among more than 1,000 at­tend­ing the Cru Win­ter Con­fer­ence in Bal­ti­more through Tues­day.

KARL MER­TON FER­RON/THE BAL­TI­MORE SUN

Cul­ture Queen sings to the au­di­ence Satur­day dur­ing the Kwan­zaa cel­e­bra­tion at the Regi­nald F. Lewis Mu­seum. The event fea­tured dancers, mu­si­cians, ven­dors and a fash­ion show.

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