New plan to combat asthma in the Bronx

July 18, 2011 2:29:31 PM PDT
The Bronx has one of the highest asthma rates in the country. Now, there is a new plan to try and help students and parents. The results from 6 year old Emily Ann Ortiz's free asthma screening in Throggs Neck were not good, but just what her mother expected.

"She does believe she does have asthma they're sending her to the clinic so she can be tested," she said.

She's far from alone. The Bronx has one of the worst asthma rates in the country.

Now, State Senator Jeffrey Klein wants to know the extent of the problem, specifically in the northeast Bronx.

"We know the south Bronx has very high asthma rates, but right here in the northeast Bronx, Greater Throggs Neck area, we could have the same problem," Klein said.

To find out, he, along with the local community board, worked to bring this and one other air quality monitor to this region.

"So we can measure the air to determine what we have in the air and how we can work on transportation policy to improve it," he said.

While the results aren't expected for several weeks, Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott announced a new initiative he's launched which includes a program to offer emergency asthma care for children in schools, training for teachers on helping students manage their symptoms and a new 311 program.

"So all you have to do is call 311 and they will connect you as a family member or someone who has a question about asthma locate a facility in your community," Walcott said.

It's a start to help end a problem that hits home for Emily Anne and far too many of her friends.

They're planning to hold more of free asthma screenings in the coming months.

For more information about the program, please visit

Free screening information is available on State Sen. Jeff Klein's website: