Reducing asthma triggers in low-income homes


Cockroaches and mice, which can trigger asthma attacks, are significantly more prevalent in the homes of lower-income New Yorkers than in those with higher incomes. Evidence indicates that these housing conditions are major contributors to disparities in asthma hospitalizations and emergency department visits, with the highest rates in high-poverty neighborhoods.


The Fund raised and managed $1.1 million in separate grants from the Robin Hood Foundation and the New York State Health Foundation to examine a new approach to reducing asthma triggers in low-income homes. With the grants and city tax levy funds, the NYC Health Department is evaluating the feasibility, return on investment, and health impact of providing basic and effective pest control called Integrated Pest Management (IPM) in the homes of children with severe asthma. Montefiore Medical Center and health insurers Healthfirst and Affinity are partnering with the Health Department on this approach. IPM can safely reduce pests and related asthma triggers and can also prevent re-infestations. This study is using self-report, medical record, insurance claims and environmental assessment data to assess the impact of IPM on the health care visits of children with persistent asthma.


Ongoing analyses are investigating health care costs savings from IPM as well as days of school and work missed for children and their caregivers. Final study results could support policy changes for public and private health insurers to cover IPM for families with children with severe asthma, improving both living conditions for the family and the health of the children.


The Fund invites businesses, philanthropic organizations, and individuals to join us in making a significant impact on the health of all New Yorkers. Please contact our development team to learn about opportunities for supporting our work.