Asthma affects student performance as well as health. It is the number one cause of school absences nationwide. New York City children are hospitalized for asthma at almost twice the national rate. In low-income communities, this statistic increases to four times the national rate, a figure that lends credence to asthma’s label as the disease of the poor. And the situation of New York City children is not improving. Half of the children who currently suffer from asthma remain undiagnosed, and thus untreated.
But a new initiative aims to cut the statistics. Project E.R.A.S.E. (Eradicating Respiratory Asthma in Schools to help children Excel), in pilot phase in two schools in NYC School District #1, will bring local pediatric asthma specialists into the targeted schools to diagnose and treat students with asthma; these physicians will conduct monthly meetings with parents, caregivers and educators and provide educational information and support that will build long-term asthma management skills. There is no cost to students, and all treatment occurs in school.
The project is being led by Dr. Paul Ehrlich, a leading asthma specialist who is clinical assistant professor of pediatrics at the NYU School of Medicine. It's hoped that the initiative will expand citywide and will serve as the model for a nationwide program.
The project needs every parent’s help to grow and expand. You can send a check to the Fund for Public Schools, with a note that the contribution be directed towards Project E.R.A.S.E; send to Fund for Public Schools, 52 Chambers Street, Room 305, New York, NY. 10007, to the attention of Deborah McGinn. For more information: www.projecterase.com.