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Press Releases

Woodhull Medical and Mental Health Center’s Asthma Program Receives National Award from EPA

Jun 18, 2010

New York, NY

HHC’s Woodhull Medical and Mental Health Center has been selected to receive the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) 2010 National Environmental Leadership Award in Asthma Management for their exemplary efforts to deliver high-quality asthma care that includes environmental controls. Award winners are recognized for demonstrating that comprehensive care with a strong environmental component can dramatically improve health outcomes for people with asthma. Woodhull is one of only five programs in the country to receive the prestigious award this year.
“The success of the Woodhull Asthma Team is due to both the extraordinary clinical leadership at the hospital and the collaborative relationship we have with our patients. As a community hospital, we are proud of this award and the EPA’s recognition of the care we provide to the communities of North Brooklyn,” said Iris R. Jimenez-Hernandez, Senior Vice President for the Woodhull North Brooklyn Health Network.
The Woodhull North Brooklyn Health Network began its asthma management program 12 years ago in response to high asthma rates in North Brooklyn. The hospital’s goal was to develop a comprehensive asthma intervention program and make improvements in clinical outcomes to ensure that all pediatric and adult patients in the community received the same high quality care.
Edward Fishkin, MD, the Medical Director of the Woodhull North Brooklyn Health Network championed the effort to address the community’s high need for comprehensive asthma treatment for both adults and children at Woodhull Hospital and its satellite facilities by convening the first Asthma Summit.
The Summit brought together local stakeholders to determine the best ways to address the problem and to ensure community support. Subsequently, New York State funding was obtained and a local coalition, the North Brooklyn Asthma Action Alliance (NBAAA), was formed. This coalition brought a single standard of asthma care to the community.
Woodhull obtained additional grant funding from the New York City Council to hire Community Health Care Workers who visit the homes and coordinate care for children suffering with the most severe asthma. As part of the program, caregivers identify environmental risks and triggers in the home and at school. Then the Asthma Team and Community Health Care Workers address these environmental effects and work with patients and their families to eliminate them.
They raise awareness about controlling asthma and the environmental factors that cause attacks, help patients and their families manage environmental triggers in their homes, and work to reduce children’s exposure to indoor asthma triggers at schools and day care centers. Although there is no cure, asthma can be controlled through medical treatment and management of the patient’s environment.
“The EPA is recognizing Woodhull Medical and Mental Health Center for their outstanding efforts to reduce the burden of asthma for families in their communities,” said Mike Flynn, Director of EPA’s Office of Radiation and Indoor Air. “This program is achieving positive environmental and health outcomes, and the EPA applauds their innovation and dedication to controlling asthma.”
Woodhull trained its doctors, residents and nurses using National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) guidelines in the management of asthma through the Physician Asthma Care Education (PACE) program and provided additional nurse trainings through the hospital’s Asthma Program.
The Woodhull Program has grown to be a community force in health care due in part to the dedicated Asthma Team. Dr. Fishkin oversees the program and remains the hospital’s chief asthma champion. Dr. Michael Akerman, a pulmonologist, is the Medical Director of the Program and the Adult Asthma Clinic. The Chair of the NBAAA Coalition, Desire LaTempa, provides asthma education in the clinics and handles the day to day management of the program. Altagracia Moronta is the Clinical Coordinator for the Coalition. Wilson Heredia is a Certified Asthma Educator and the School Liaison. As the Chair of the Standard of Care Committee, Dr. Tejal Mehta, a pediatrician and director of the pediatric residency program, continues to provide training and assessment of the physicians and sees children in the asthma clinic.
The EPA presented the award to the Woodhull Medical and Mental Health Center at the Communities in Action National Asthma Forum in Washington, D.C., on June 17, 2010. For more information about EPA’s National Environmental Leadership Award in Asthma Management, visit http://www.epa.gov/asthma.

Contact : Ian Michaels (HHC) (212) 788-3339

About Woodhull Medical Center

Woodhull Medical Center is a 411-bed acute care hospital in Brooklyn, serving the neighborhoods of Williamsburg, Bushwick, Greenpoint, Fort Greene, and Bedford-Stuyvesant. Woodhull offers culturally competent, sensitive care, and translation services in multiple languages. It serves as the anchor for the North Brooklyn Healthcare Network, encompassing 16 community-based health centers, and is a member of The New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC), the largest municipal hospital and health care system in the country. Woodhull also is affiliated with the New York University School of Medicine.