Air Harlem helps children with asthma

HARLEM, New York

It causes hospitalizations, missed days of school and low level of exercise because of trouble breathing. A.I.R. Harlem, Air for Asthma Intervention and Relief programs are helping asthmatic kids and their families.

Michael Dicke, 11,y has won a scholar award at Harlem Success Academy, but basketball is his passion. He's won a lot of trophies, a most valuable player award, but his asthma almost benched him.

But since community health worker Julia Urena has been coming to the Dickey's home every three months, his asthma is under much better control. Julia sits down with the Dickey's and checks off resolved or continuing problems, makes sure Michael is using his medication properly and answers any questions from the family.

Julia's visits are part of a program directed by Shoshanah Brown. It's called A.I.R Harlem, a privately funded outreach connected to emergency rooms and schools, which refer families for care. For kids such as Michael who are in the program for a year there is a great amount of success.

"We've been able to reduce overnight hospitalizations by 75% for these kids and reduce E.R. visits by half," Brown said.

Before Julia, Michael was in the E.R. for breathing trouble once a month. Now, Michael has not been in the emergency room for two years.

"Now I can stay away from the emergency room, a place I don't really like, so I can stay home and play basketball and do things I really want to do," Michael said.

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