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'Yes We Can' does

April 29, 2005

Photo of a young boy who was hospitalized for asthma Two programs run by Community Health Works, a joint program of SFSU and City College of San Francisco, were recently recognized by federal agencies for their excellence in public health outreach.

The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) thinks so much of "Yes We Can," the San Francisco childhood asthma intervention program, that it prepared a 43-page case study to appear on its website as a model for other communities struggling with asthma among children. "Yes We Can aims to ensure that San Francisco children from low-income families receive preventive care and follow-up and that their parents are informed and supported enough to properly manage the disease at home.

"The latest data shows that 13 percent of California's children have a diagnosis of asthma," said Mary Beth Love, chair of SFSU's Health Education Department. "Creating new models for preventing and treating this condition is a top priority."

Health educators at SFSU and CCSF founded "Yes We Can" with Kaiser Permanente of Northern California, the San Francisco Department of Public Health, San Francisco Health Plan and the Bayview/Hunter's Point Healthy Start program. Initiated in 1997 at San Francisco General Hospital, "Yes We Can" grew out of the revelation that children from low-income families spend four times as much time in the hospital for asthma related illnesses than asthmatic children from other economic backgrounds.

"Since our efforts began, there has been a dramatic reduction in the number of hospitalizations, emergency room visits and symptom days for the children we serve," said Vicki Legion, director of Community Health Works.

"Yes We Can" is only the sixth program to be profiled on the CDC Web site.

SFSU/CCSF Community Health Works also serves as the coordinating office for the Community Action to Fight Asthma Statewide (CAFA) initiative which was recently honored with the first annual Children's Environmental Health Award from the United States Environmental Protection Agency. CAFA's mission is to reduce indoor and environmental hazards for California school-age children who have asthma. Funded by The California Endowment, it raises public awareness about the environmental triggers of asthma and helps policymakers identify, develop and implement interventions.

Twelve asthma coalitions in California carried out advocacy efforts under CAFA. These included supporting the rights of tenants in public housing projects and providing multilingual community health workers to help parents reduce asthma triggers in the home. Workers also helped reduce local sources of outdoor air pollution and improved public trash collection to control such known asthma triggers as roaches and rodents.

The EPA award recognized CAFA for "raising awareness and stimulating activities in the community about children's environmental health."

For more information about Community Health Works and its programs, visit the Community Health Works Web site.

-- Denize Springer


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Last modified April 29, 2005 by University Communications