UCLA Breathmobile hits the road to help kids with asthma
September 18, 2009
3 min read
Children in Southern California may soon be breathing a little easier, thanks to the UCLA Breathmobile, an asthma clinic on wheels that provides free diagnosis, treatment, medication and education at school sites for children with asthma.
Staffed by a physician, a registered nurse and a patient-service worker, the RV-style UCLA Breathmobile will be visiting some 25 schools in the Long Beach and Wilmington area, with follow-up visits commencing every six to eight weeks. The Breathmobile is expected to begin treating children in the Long Beach Unified School District early next month.
The Breathmobile will receive an official ribbon-cutting launch at UCLA Mattel Children's Hospital on Wednesday, Sept. 23, at 1 p.m., organized by the hospital and the California Chapter of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA). The project was developed by the California AAFA chapter to address rising morbidity rates from asthma in high-risk, disadvantaged children.
"With our kid-friendly UCLA Breathmobile, we look forward to bringing our services to the community and helping countless children with the diagnosis and management of asthma," said Dr. Maria Garcia Lloret, assistant clinical professor of pediatric allergy and immunology at Mattel Children's Hospital. "We hope these visits will improve the day-to-day lives of families who are coping with this chronic condition."
Evaluation studies have demonstrated dramatic improvement for patients treated by the Breathmobile, including fewer emergency room visits, improved pulmonary function, a decrease in school absenteeism and an improved quality of life.
There are currently 12 Breathmobiles operating throughout Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino and Riverside counties. They visit more than 200 elementary, middle and high schools, as well as several comprehensive health clinics in Southern California.
Asthma is the number one cause of school absenteeism among children, accounting for more than 14 million missed days of school. It is the most common chronic condition among children, affecting nearly 5 million kids under the age of 18. Each year, asthma accounts for more than 10 million outpatient visits and 500,000 hospitalizations.
The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America is a nonprofit national voluntary health charity dedicated to controlling asthma and allergic diseases for millions of sufferers. The California Chapter of the AAFA was established in 1976 and is the largest chapter in the nationwide network. AAFA's mission is to educate individuals and organizations on steps that can be taken to improve sufferers' quality of life; to support medical research and specialized training for the health care community; to increase public awareness of the severity of asthma and allergic diseases; and to provide medication and treatment to the underserved.
UCLA Mattel Children's Hospital, one of the highest-rated children's hospitals in California, is a vital component of Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, ranked by U.S. News & World Report as the third best hospital in nation and best in the western United States. Mattel Children's Hospital offers a full spectrum of primary and specialized medical care for infants, children and adolescents. The hospital's mission is to provide state?of-the-art treatment for children in a compassionate atmosphere and to improve the understanding and treatment of pediatric diseases.