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Jaime and Serenity Breathe Easier with Their Asthma Under Control

Samantha Hernandez Matos needed an exterminator. Her children, Jaime Angel and Serenity Rose suffer from asthma and the pests in her apartment were triggering the disease.

With the help of an innovative community partnership between Lincoln Medical Center and the Bronx Respirar Asthma Coalition, Samantha was able to sign up for a community health worker to come to her apartment to educate her family and to hire an exterminator. Now, Adora Campis, the community health worker, visits Samantha and her children once a month to monitor the children’s asthma and recommend changes to the apartment that keep the kids from getting sick.

“Adora gave Jaime and Serenity coloring books about asthma and explained to them what might trigger an attack,” said Samantha. Jaime, who just turned five, has had asthma since he was a baby and has been hospitalized six times. His sister Serenity who is three years old has suffered with asthma since she was a year old. “My son used to get such bad attacks. Once he was in the ICU for five days, but now it’s under control thanks to his treatment plan, medications and help with reducing triggers in the apartment.”

Adora assessed the Matos’ apartment, hired an exterminator, located mold in the bathroom, and created a plan for a healthy environment. She checked the apartment for pests, mold and lead and gave them special covers for their pillows and mattresses.

“We have a high incidence of asthma in the Bronx and we are continually searching for ways to bring episodes of the disease down. This will translate into less missed school days and less missed time off from work for parents,” said Adora. “We try to empower the patient and the caregiver so that they can put two and two together and help them understand the relationship between triggers and asthmatic episodes.”

NYC public hospitals have similar collaborations in Queens, Brooklyn and Washington Heights/Inwood to help patients across the city.