The American Lung Association of Kentucky presented a $25,000 grant to Louisville’s Institute of Healthy Air, Water and Soil on Tuesday to support Air Louisville, a community program focused on asthma treatment and prevention. Not coincidentally, Tuesday is also World Asthma Day 2015.
Air Louisville is a collaborative effort between the Institute, Metro government and Propeller Health. Its asthma sensor program uses an FDA-approved sensor, made by Propeller, that tracks where and when people use their inhalers. Metro officials will use the data to map asthma hotspots throughout Jefferson County.
The goal of the program is to create a digital record of when and where inhalers are used to help asthma sufferers better manage symptoms, and to help doctors treat asthma more effectively. In 2014, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation ranked Louisville the 16th most-challenging city for asthma sufferers.
The grant will help Air Louisville expand its community asthma program by an additional 125 participants. The goal is to provide 1,125 sensor-enabled inhalers to residents of Jefferson County.
This is the second iteration of the asthma sensor program. The first round was back in 2012, when 350 enhanced inhalers were distributed in Louisville. The inhalers were used over the course of 13 months, and Propeller tracked what it described as “over 5,400 rescue inhaler use events.”
“The American Lung Association of Kentucky looks to support new approaches such as Air Louisville to improve our air quality and help people living with asthma and other breathing problems,” Barry Gottschalk, CEO and president of the ALA of Kentucky, said in a statement.
Vernonica Combs, director of community engagement for the Institute, said 55 inhalers have been distributed this year; she expects that number will climb to 100 by the end of May. The goal is to distribute all inhalers by October.
Combs said the ALA of Kentucky is the kind of partner the Institute wants, as it has experience working on issues of air quality and has deep outreach into Louisville’s communities. She said the Institute also hopes to reach potential participants in the inhaler program through the ALA. “Their expertise will be a wonderful boost to the program,” she said.
The Community Foundation of Louisville sponsors the Institute.