Each year, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) brings advocates from across the nation to talk with Congress about policies that can improve the lives of people with asthma and allergies. This year’s meetings were held virtually due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Community advocates and members of AAFA’s leadership team – including staff, board members, and regional chapter representatives shared the growing impact asthma and allergies have on all our lives. We also talked about the devastating toll of racial and ethnic disparities and climate change on health.
We asked Congress to support funding for key programs and legislation that continue to improve research, prevention, treatment, and access to care to save lives and promote health equity:
- $40 million appropriation for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Asthma Control Program (NACP)
- The Elijah E. Cummings Family Asthma Act (H.R. 7055)
- $110 million appropriation for the CDC Climate and Health Program
- The Medical Nutrition Equity Act of 2021 (H.R. 3783/S. 2013)
According to AAFA’s Asthma Disparities in America report, Black Americans are three times more likely to die from asthma. And they are five times more likely to be treated in emergency rooms compared to white Americans.
The difference in rates among racial groups is similar for food allergies. Black children are 7% more likely to have food allergies overall compared to white children. Pacific Islander, Native Hawaiian, and Asian children are 25% more likely to have food allergies. Black children with food allergies are also more likely to die from anaphylaxis than white children with food allergies.
Climate change is a public health emergency. The United States is already experiencing:
- Increased levels of ozone and particulate air pollution
- Extreme weather patterns, such as heat and severe storms
- Increased wildfires
- Longer and more intense allergy seasons
Every American’s health is at risk due to climate change, but some populations are more at risk than others. These populations include infants, children, seniors, people with chronic diseases like asthma and allergies, people who are pregnant, low-income communities, communities of color, and people with disabilities.
AAFA and our community coalition of advocates met with more than 40 top lawmakers during the week of April 18, 2022. AAFA is also working closely with members of Congress who are already leading the way to address the impact of structural and systemic racism to better protect people living with asthma and allergies. This series of virtual Capitol Hill meetings took place during National Minority Health Month and will serve as a kick-off to National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month in May.
You can help us advocate for people with asthma and allergies during National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month. Save May 16, 2022 – Advocacy Day on your calendars. On that day, we will join to ask our elected officials to support the Elijah E. Cummings Family Asthma Act and the Medical Nutrition Equity Act using a simple digital tool that AAFA provides.
To find out more about AAFA’s advocacy efforts during National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month, go to: AAFA’s 31 Days of Action