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Westchester Schools Benefit From Federal Asthma Aid

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, joined by Dr. Edward A. Kliszus (right rear), Port Chester’s Superintendent of Schools, Rep. Nita Lowey (right front), Dr. Allen Dozor (left), Maria Fareri Children's Hospital.
U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, joined by Dr. Edward A. Kliszus (right rear), Port Chester’s Superintendent of Schools, Rep. Nita Lowey (right front), Dr. Allen Dozor (left), Maria Fareri Children's Hospital. Photo Credit: Contributed

WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-New York) and Nita Lowey (D - Westchester/Rockland) announced new federal funding for asthma research and training for school nurses and teachers at a press conference held at Port Chester Middle School on Monday.

Port Chester Superintendent Dr. Edward A. Kliszus revealed that efforts by the schools with their partner Open Door Family Medical Centers, have resulted in a great reduction in asthma related absences thanks to a program initiated in 2010. The school reported 376 asthma-related absences in 2010 versus only 28 in 2014.

With asthma affecting approximately 364,000 children in New York state, Gillibrand and Congresswoman Lowey announced that $1.65 billion in federal aid is now available for school districts to develop policies and procedures and implement training to respond to and help prevent students’ asthma attacks as well as other local priorities for schools throughout the country, including approximately $125 million for New York schools.

The funding is part of Senator Gillibrand’s School Asthma Management Plan Act and was included in the national education bill recently passed by Congress and signed into law by President Obama.

According to the New York State Department of Health, over 19,000 Westchester children suffer from asthma. Over 400 were hospitalized overnight for their asthma in 2014.

“With so many children in New York hospitalized every year for asthma attacks, I’m pleased to announce that our local school districts now have access to this federal grant funding to develop, implement, and evaluate school asthma management plans.” Gillibrand said in a statement. “With nearly 1 in 11 children in our state and in 12 children across the country now suffering from asthma, we have to make sure our schools have the resources to prepare for and prevent asthma attacks."

“It is critical that we provide schools with the resources to respond to a child’s asthma episode,” Lowey said. “Asthma is the leading chronic disease among children, and can lead to adverse consequences beyond health, such as missed class time and school days."

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