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Release Date: 04/14/2003
Contact Information: Wesley Lambert, Office of Media Relations, U.S. EPA, Region 4 Phone: (404)-562-8316
(Atlanta, Georgia) - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today awarded a $150,000 grant to Health Choice Network to help in the fight against childhood asthma. Asthma has reached epidemic proportions in the United States affecting about 15 million people.

"I congratulate Health Choice Network, Inc. on its selection as a recipient of one of EPA=s asthma grants," said Jimmy Palmer, EPA Regional Administrator in Atlanta, Georgia. "Your particular work with the Pediatric Asthma Project mirrors our own concern and focus at EPA on a disease that continues to spread and impair the health of our children. By working together, we can help them surmount this disease and improve the quality of life for thousands of children in the Miami-Dade County area."

Health Choice Network, Inc. is a community-based, not-for-profit organization formed and governed by a group of community health centers located in South and Central Florida. The Network Centers provide comprehensive primary and preventive care to low-income, underserved populations. In 2002, 56% of their patients were uninsured and 33% were Medicaid/CHIP beneficiaries; and 63% of patients lived at or below 100% of the Federal Poverty Level.

This grant will support Health Choice Network's Healthy Body, Healthy Soul: Pediatric Asthma Project. The mission of the Project is to address the disproportionate effect the disease is having on the children in Miami-Dade county's underserved communities. The pilot project will assess the effectiveness of using Lay Health Educators to educate 120 children with asthma and their families. Lay Health Educators will make home visits to provide education on asthma management, conduct home environmental assessments, discuss strategies for eliminating triggers of asthma in the home, and emphasize the importance of seeking regular primary and preventive health care.

The EPA started this competitive grant program in 2000 to ensure that asthma is managed comprehensively, including both medical management and avoiding indoor environmental asthma triggers. Health Choice Network is one of two organizations to receive funding from EPA this year for this program. The Erie County Health Department in New York is the other grantee.