AAFA Co-Hosts Congressional Briefing Highlighting 25th Year of National Asthma Control Program

World Asthma Day offers opportunity to reflect on success, focus on the future

Washington, DC, May 07, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) is celebrating the 25th year of the CDC’s National Asthma Control Program (NACP) on World Asthma Day (May 7) by co-hosting a Congressional briefing highlighting the program’s impact and calling attention to the need to expand the program to all of the United States.  

“The NACP provides resources for asthma education that help empower people with asthma,” said Kenneth Mendez, president and CEO of AAFA. “These resources improve asthma outcomes and provide a strong return on Investment. Asthma mortality rates declined by 45% from 1999-2018. And for every $1 spent, the NACP saves $71 in total economic costs related to asthma. On behalf of the 27 million people in the US with asthma, we’re grateful for the positive impact NACP has made over the past 25 years. We also know more can and must be done. AAFA continues to call on policymakers to fully fund the NACP so that it reaches all people in the United States.” 

AAFA supports the Elijah Cummings Family Asthma Act which would fund the NACP at a level that would allow it to reach all 50 states and all US territories. The program is currently funded at a level that allows it to operate in 25 states, territories, and municipalities.  

The World Asthma Day event on Capitol Hill was held in cooperation with the Chairs of the House Asthma and Allergy Caucus, Rep. David Valadao of California and Rep. Debbie Dingell of Michigan. The bipartisan caucus advocates for legislation that would improve the quality of life for the more than 100 million people in the U.S. with asthma and/or allergies.  

“We thank Reps. Valadao and Dingell for their continued leadership on issues related to asthma and allergies,” said Mendez. “Today’s event on the NACP highlights the importance of federal funding for key public health initiatives related to asthma.” 

Over the 25 years of the NACP, AAFA has been the recipient of several CDC grants. Most recently, the NACP awarded AAFA with a 5-year, $1 million grant that began in September of 2020 to support AAFA's Community Health Interventions to Advance Self-management of Asthma (CHI-ASMA). CHI-ASMA aims to improve asthma health outcomes in populations who have a higher risk for asthma including children, senior adults, individuals who are Black, Hispanic, American Indian, or Alaska Native, and people who are pregnant, lactating, or postpartum.  

To achieve this, AAFA offers guidelines-based healthcare provider and patient education, patient and caregiver support, and collaborates with community-based organizations and health departments.  

As part of its CHI-ASMA work, AAFA launched three national awareness campaigns, including:  

  • Respiratory illnesses like the flu, COVID-19, and RSV and their impact on asthma 
  • Asthma inhaler use and controlling symptoms 
  • Allergic asthma in children

“These awareness campaigns are a great example of the work supported by the NACP,” said Melanie Carver, AAFA’s chief mission officer and principal investigator of CHI-ASMA. “We’re grateful for sustained support that allows us to make a meaningful impact on asthma outcomes, especially in under-resourced and marginalized communities bearing a great burden of asthma.”  

The Congressional briefing on the NACP comes not only on World Asthma Day, but also as part of National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month. Throughout the month of May, AAFA will highlight issues related to living with asthma and allergies.  

Here’s a rundown of what’s happening this month:  

  • May 6-10:  Air Quality and Asthma Awareness Week - The climate crisis is urgent and AAFA’s Allergy Capitals Report makes clear the negative impacts of climate change on public health. Air pollution contributes to worsening air quality and increased pollen production, both of which trigger asthma.  
  • May 12-18: Food Allergy Awareness Week - Visit the Kids With Food Allergies website for fact sheets, images, and activities, including an Ask the Allergist webinar to learn about food allergy basics and treatments. 
  • May 19-25: Type 2 Inflammation Week and Eosinophil Awareness Week - Learn about Type 2 Inflammation, a chronic immune response that drives asthma, atopic dermatitis, food allergies, nasal polyps, and eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE).  
  • May 24: Remembrance Day – a day to honor family members and loved ones who’ve died from asthma or anaphylaxis.  
  • May 26-31: Advocacy Week – We'll be sharing concrete actions you can take to impact public policy and public health, including building on the momentum from our successful advocacy to lower the cost of asthma inhalers.

For more information, including a full calendar of events, fact sheets, infographics, and more: aafa.org/awareness.    


About AAFA 
Founded in 1953, AAFA is the oldest and largest non-profit patient organization dedicated to saving lives and reducing the burden of disease for people with asthma, allergies, and related conditions through research, education, advocacy, and support. AAFA offers extensive support for individuals and families affected by asthma and allergic diseases, such as food allergies and atopic dermatitis (eczema). Through its online patient support communities, network of regional chapters, and collaborations with community-based groups, AAFA empowers patients and their families by providing practical, evidence-based information and community programs and services. AAFA is the only asthma and allergy patient advocacy group that is certified to meet the standards of excellence set by the National Health Council. For more information, visit: aafa.org


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