United States

Medical Center Update

June 30, 2008

Joyce Colton

With the generous support of PhRMA, this September the Saturday morning clinic at the Florence Western Medical Center will address the allergy and asthma needs of South Los Angeles families by providing allergy services every 1st and 3rd Saturday of the month. This concept, borrowed from an asthma program formerly located at MLK, will coincide with the clinic’s bi-weekly Saturday morning children’s program. During this time children will obtain essential treatment while also learning health education, computer literacy and other life skills education.

Allergy services will be provided by Dr. Sonal R. Patel, M.D., who specializes in Pediatric/Adult Allergy & Immunology at White Memorial Pediatric Medical Group. The PhRMA grant will supplement the cost of providing free or low cost services to under or uninsured patients. Other services supported by grant money include allergy and asthma education materials and free asthma medication and inhalers for families who are unable to afford medicines.

Millions of people suffer from allergies caused by every day exposures to agents such as dust mites, cat dander, and pollens. Agents can also cause allergic problems such as asthma, nasal and sinus allergies, hives, and even severe anaphylactic reactions.1 Asthma is one of the most common long-term diseases of children. It causes repeated episodes of wheezing, breathlessness, chest tightness, and nighttime or early morning coughing. Asthma can be controlled by following a medical management plan and by avoiding contact with environmental “triggers,” such as cockroaches, dust mites, furry pets, mold, tobacco smoke, and certain chemicals. Asthma is also one of the leading causes of school absenteeism and disproportionately effects low-income populations, minorities, and children living in inner cities. These children experience more emergency department visits, hospitalizations, and deaths due to asthma than the general population.2

1 “Healthy Youth! Hot Topics, Asthma” National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion March 5, 2008, June 2, 2008 <http://www.cdc.gov/HealthyYouth/asthma/index.htm>.

2 “Asthma and Allergies in the Work Place” Center for Disease Control and Prevention June 2, 2008 <http://www.cdc.gov/health/asthma.htm>.