On April 30th, A.I.R. Harlem, which stands for Asthma Intervention and Relief, hosted a benefit event at Red Rooster with Harlem Children’s Zone’s President & CEO, Geoffrey Canada. Over a decade ago, Geoff Canada recognized the magnitude of the asthma problem and, together with Harlem Hospital, founded this program which was formerly known as the Harlem Children’s Zone Asthma Initiative. Today, A.I.R. Harlem works with kids from 283 schools who live or go to school in Harlem. They have refined their data-driven model based on lessons learned and are now a technology-forward organization that can track program performance in real time. And A.I.R. Harlem is still seeing results: among the kids who’ve been in the program for a year they’ve measured:
· an 85% decrease in hospitalizations
· a 64% decrease in Emergency Room visits
· a 69% decrease in school absences.
Asthma is not a new problem; medical experts have understood how to control for a long time. Yet it remains the number one reason kids are absent from school and are hospitalized in Harlem and is therefore a major barrier to academic achievement, fitness and health in this community. Poor housing conditions, pests, roaches, mold and lack of access to consistent, quality healthcare persist as triggers for asthma and A.I.R. Harlem, where staff speak French, Spanish and Mandingo in addition to English, is working hard to help local families learn how to keep kids healthy, in school and out of the hospital.