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February marks Black History Month. It celebrates the major achievements of Black people in the United States throughout history. It is also a chance to learn about key moments that have not only shaped the Black experience in America, but that of the entire nation. Black History Month is often a time to look at how far we’ve come and how far we have to go. At the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA), we believe one of the best ways to honor the past is to heal the present and fight for a more equitable future.

Black people in the United States - along with Hispanic and Indigenous people - continue to face the highest asthma burden as detailed in AAFA’s report “Asthma Disparities in America: A Roadmap to Reducing Burden on Racial and Ethnic Minorities.”

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Promoting health equity is a core value and mission-critical priority of AAFA. One way AAFA is working to change health disparities is through our Health Equity Advancement and Leadership (HEAL) program. This program addresses health disparities in communities that bear the heaviest burden of asthma .

The HEAL program - started in May 2022 - is having an impact. Early enrollment and evaluation data from HEAL sites show that these programs are reaching adults and adolescents with asthma experiencing disproportionate burden of asthma. Many participants in the programs report having competing priorities and needs relating to their health. Food security, the risk of losing utilities, and the lack of reliable transportation are a few of the top needs households are facing to manage their asthma. Additionally, exposure to outdoor and indoor pollution continues to be a barrier to asthma management.

But there is still a lot to do to achieve a future without asthma and allergy disparities. As AAFA works toward better health outcomes for communities facing health inequities in the United States, we invite you to join us in this mission.

“Disparities in health care are something we know about all too well as an organization, and we are actively working to change this,” said Kenneth Mendez, AAFA President and CEO, in the “Asthma Disparities in America” report. “The disproportionate harm from the health care systems on minority populations are both rooted in the same thing: deep, systemic racism. Our systems have historically failed Black Americans and other marginalized groups. AAFA is an organization that has always been dedicated toward striving for justice with our work to reduce disparities in care for underserved groups. We are working hard to keep these issues at the forefront until we eradicate these differences.”

Get involved. You can also join our mission to promote health equity and help put an end to disparities in asthma and allergies.



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