On September 6, the Asthma Alliance of North Carolina held its quarterly meeting where they discussed the planning of the spring Asthma Summit, the NC Healthy Homes Provider Referral Database, wildfire alerts and communications and other updates.
Jonathan Navarro, MBA, from the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) presented about the Division of Air Quality’s (DAQ’s) work to create a comprehensive system to alert local community leaders about wildfire smoke. Currently, the DAQ contacts the county health directors, but DAQ would like to expand the health professionals they are reaching. Greg Kearney, DrPH, a Medical Advocates for Healthy Air (MAHA) Advisory Board member, suggested that MAHA would be a useful network to alert.
In partnership with Blue Cross Blue Shield, East Carolina University, and Vidant Health are training physicians and health professionals to look for asthma triggers in homes affected Hurricane Matthew. This program is being led by MAHA members Teresa Blount, BSN and Greg Kearney, DrPH.
In partnership with DEQ, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) shared information about its new Smoke Sense app available for Android phones. Clean Air Carolina proudly served as a community partner in the development of this important air quality app development. The app will alert users about wildfire smoke near them, allow them to confidentially log their health symptoms and learn about how air pollution can affect their health. The EPA app and study will allow researchers to better understand health symptoms during wildfires and how to better communicate environmental health information.
Asthma Alliance members discussed the next Asthma Summit, which is an annual meeting about asthma health issues offering continuing education units through a local area health education centers (AHEC). From the evaluations, it was clear that the attendees found the summit very helpful and enjoyable.
Greg Kearney describes the Asthma Alliance of North Carolina as “a diverse group of dedicated members that are deeply concerned about the issues that face children and adults with asthma. Whether it’s related to policy, education, medication, environment or other asthma concerns, the Alliance confronts the issues and looks for ways to improve the quality of life for those with asthma.” The next Asthma Alliance of North Carolina meeting is scheduled for December 13.