For over 30 years, the Harlem Children's Zone, Inc., formerly known as Rheedlen Centers for Children and Families, has been dedicated to supporting and promoting the well-being and healthy development of children in Central Harlem and has pioneered the formation of partnerships with New York City public schools in fulfilling our mission. All of the Harlem Children's Zone programming, including the HCZ Asthma Initiative, is guided by an overall empowerment philosophy which seeks to develop the capacity of community residents in order to create and sustain neighborhood revitalization. The HCZAI links these community residents with our collaborating partners, the Department of Pediatrics at Harlem Hospital and the Harlem Health Promotion Center, establishing an effective collaboration to address the asthma crisis in Central Harlem. Capitalizing on the varying resources of each partner, the HCZAI merges a research project with much needed direct services for the community. The Initiative uses a holistic approach to address the childhood epidemic in this community and monitors and analyzes the synergistic effects of multiple interventions.
Specific Aims : 1. Assess the prevalence of asthma in all children, 12 and under, receiving services at PS 197, an elementary school in Community School District 5, Central Harlem. 2. Enroll children, 12 and under, receiving services at PS 197 who have been diagnosed with asthma into the Harlem Children's Zone Asthma Initiative (HCZAI). 3. Implement the following planned medical, environmental, educational, social interventions for each child enrolled in the HCZAI regardless of the severity of the disease. 4. Monitor each child participating in the HCZAI at 3-6 month intervals for improvements in asthma symptoms and other specified health-related outcomes. 5. Evaluate impact of the direct service interventions on the children in the HCZAI receiving interventions. 6. Develop a community-wide educational campaign 7. Continually strengthen the collaboration between community residents, the Harlem Children's Zone and its fellow partners, including Harlem Hospital and Harlem Health Promotion Center, in order to most effectively address the asthma crisis in Central Harlem. 8. Document the HCZAI, its implementation and evaluation, and develop a replicable community-based strategy for addressing asthma, and other environmental and occupational health crisis, in other socio-economically disadvantaged communities.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS)
Education Projects (R25)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZES1-LWJ-B (EJ))
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O'Fallon, Liam
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Harlem Children's Zone
New York
United States
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Kwon, Helen L; Ortiz, Benjamin; Swaner, Rachel et al. (2006) Childhood asthma and extreme values of body mass index: the Harlem Children's Zone Asthma Initiative. J Urban Health 83:421-33
Nicholas, Stephen W; Jean-Louis, Betina; Ortiz, Benjamin et al. (2005) Addressing the childhood asthma crisis in Harlem: the Harlem Children's Zone Asthma Initiative. Am J Public Health 95:245-9