According to a 2018 study by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, the Greater Richmond Region of Virginia is the second most challenging place in the country to live with asthma. Childhood asthma is the primary cause of chronic absenteeism in Richmond Public Schools and the leading reason why children visit the emergency department.
To address this issue, the Richmond City Health District and the region’s three major health systems (VCU Health System, Bon Secours Richmond Health System, and HCA Virginia Health System) established the RVA Childhood Asthma Collaborative.
The Collaborative understands that improving outcomes for children with asthma will require addressing children’s medical needs as well as the underlying Social Determinants of Health (SDOH) that can worsen asthma symptoms, including housing quality, poverty, education, and access to health services. Outcomes for children with asthma will only improve if we work together to address environmental factors in the home, engage and educate parents and providers, change policies in schools, and identify sustainable funding sources so that this important work can continue.
Ultimately, our job is to empower families with the knowledge, resources, and support network to help control childhood asthma while also changing policies and growing investments to strengthen systems that support families of every child with asthma.