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Woodhull Medical and Mental Health Center
Woodhull Medical and Mental Health Center Wins $100K Federal Grant to Help People with Asthma in North Brooklyn and Beyond

Two Year Grant Will Fund New Pacer Program Designed to Help Primary Care Physicians Quickly Adopt New Guidelines in Asthma Care to Help Reduce ER Visits and Hospitalizations

Brooklyn NY - (December 7, 2009) — More than 50,000 people with asthma here in North Brooklyn stand to breathe easier thanks to a $100,000, two-year contract approved by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) to Woodhull Medical and Mental Health Center. The NHLBI is part of the National Institutes of Health, the primary federal agency for conducting and supporting basic, clinical and translational medical research.

The contract will fund PACER (Physician Asthma Care Education and Reinforcement), a new project designed to rapidly integrate the new guidelines in asthma care into the ongoing practice patterns of medical providers in the North Brooklyn area.

Following the new guidelines' emphasis on what an asthma patient's level of control is rather than just measuring severity of symptoms, the PACER program is designed to improve asthma management by physicians, and improve medication adherence and asthma self management by patients.  Ultimately, this will reduce emergency room visits and hospitalizations.   Since 2007, there have been about 12,000 visits to the Emergency Department at Woodhull, for both pediatric and adult patients, with the number of hospitalizations for Asthma increasing for adults and decreasing for pediatric patients for this period.

“With one of the highest rates of asthma in New York, the residents of North Brooklyn will greatly benefit from this new national effort to manage this chronic and debilitating disease,” said Iris R. Jimenez-Hernandez, Senior Vice President for the Woodhull North Brooklyn Health Network.  According to program director, Dr. Michael Akerman, “the PACER program will specifically help physicians and the entire medical care team to utilize the latest national recommendations, a state of the art electronic record system, and patient education to result in better asthma control and healthier patients.”

Woodhull Medical and Mental Health Center is one of 13 local organizations, and one of only two New York hospitals, to receive two-year contracts as part of the NHLBI's National Asthma Control Initiative, a new effort of the National Asthma Education and Prevention Program (NAEPP) to strengthen collaborative efforts among patients and families, health care providers, and other stakeholders committed to improving the management of asthma. Each project will provide insight into practices that can enhance asthma control by implementing—at the community level—evidence-based recommendations from two reports: the Expert Panel Report 3-Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Asthma (EPR-3), and its companion, the Guidelines Implementation Panel (GIP) Report.

The projects are built upon the following six key GIP recommendations: assess asthma severity; assess asthma control; schedule follow-up visits; use inhaled corticosteroids; use asthma action plans; and control environmental exposures. Combined, the contracts total $1.3 million, and will be administered by the Academy for Educational Development based in Washington, D.C., which serves as the contractor for the national initiative.

“The guidelines give us the best that science has to offer about how to diagnose and control asthma, but unless health care providers, patients, and others integrate the recommendations into their programs and day-to-day routines for managing asthma, we will fall short of our potential to improve public health,” said James P. Kiley, Ph.D., director of the NHLBI Division of Lung Diseases.
Asthma is a common and often disabling condition that affects some 23 million Americans, including seven million children under the age of 18. Asthma accounts for more than 10 million missed work days and almost 13 million missed school days each year. 

“Our goal is to help people who have asthma lead longer, healthier, and fuller lives, thereby reducing asthma’s toll on those who have it. These demonstration projects are aimed at tackling different barriers to quality asthma care, so patients and their families can improve asthma control—and be active at work, school, and play,” said Diana Schmidt, M.P.H., NAEPP coordinator for the NHLBI.

Findings from Woodhull’s PACER Program and the other projects, will be used to guide effective, evidence-based asthma care and control here in North Brooklyn and coast-to-coast.

Following are all the NACI demonstration projects:
• Asthma Allies (Albuquerque, NM)
• Boston Public Health Commission (Boston, MA)
• Children’s Research Institute (Washington, DC)
• Dorchester House Multi-Service Center (Dorchester, MA)
• HHC Woodhull Medical and Mental Health Center (Brooklyn, NY)
• Los Angeles United School District (Los Angeles, CA)
• Medical Care Development (Calais, ME)
• Medical Society of Virginia Foundation (Richmond, VA)
• Michigan Department of Community Health (Lansing, MI)
• Mission Healthcare Foundation (Asheville, NC)
• National Respiratory Training Center (Suffolk, VA)
• South Bronx Asthma Partnership/Bronx-Lebanon Hospital (Bronx, NY) • University of California, San Francisco (San Francisco, CA)

Resources: NHLBI Diseases and Conditions Index: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/dci/Diseases/Asthma/Asthma_WhatIs.html

Woodhull Medical Center is a 411-bed acute care hospital in Brooklyn, serving the neighborhoods of Williamsburg, Bushwick, Greenpoint, Fort Greene, and Bedford-Stuyvesant. Woodhull offers culturally competent, sensitive care, and translation services in multiple languages. It serves as the anchor for the North Brooklyn Healthcare Network, encompassing 15 community-based health centers, and is a member of The New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC), the largest municipal hospital and health care system in the country. Woodhull also is affiliated with the New York University School of Medicine.

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