Thursday, October 23, 2014

Massport Contributes $170K to East Boston Health Programs

2005 DPH survey outlined specific needs in the community

BOSTON  --  The Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport) today announced a $170,000 contribution to the East Boston Neighborhood Health Center to address early symptoms of childhood asthma and adult COPD in East Boston. The money will help fund the salaries of community health workers and purchase home health asthma kits for families the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) has identified at risk. Other communities immediately surrounding Logan Airport and part of the DPH study, including Winthrop and South Boston, will also receive contributions.

State Senator Anthony Petruccelli spoke about the efforts over the years that both he and House Speaker Robert DeLeo had made to get a healthy study done for their communities. “This is the cornerstone of what we were looking for.”

 “With the creation of this program, Massport and the East Boston Health Center are working together to address long standing health issues that affect our communities,” State Representative Carlo Basile said. “I feel positive it will bring results and I want to thank both Massport and the East Boston Health Center for their hard work.” 

 The Logan Health Study was launched in 2000 and released in May 2014. It involved a telephone survey of 6,072 adult residents within 5 miles of Logan in 2005 and also provided information for 2,215 children.  Findings indicated that children in the high exposure area to Logan Airport were estimated to have three to four times the likelihood of probable asthma, although there was no statistical difference in diagnosed asthma. The study also found an elevated likelihood of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in those adults who had lived in the immediate vicinity of Logan for many years.

 “East Boston Neighborhood Health Center is very grateful for the collaboration it enjoys with Massport,” said EBNHC CEO Manny Lopes.  “The vital funding being provided today will significantly help our health center in treating and managing asthma and COPD, illnesses that not only affect residents of our service area, but are leading national health concerns.”

Nurses and health workers at the East Boston Health Center will reach out to East Boston families and identify children in need of asthma services. Nurses will work with families of children diagnosed with asthma and relevant school health care workers on ways that the illness can be treated through:

  • the creation of individual plans,
  • management of medicine
  • distribution of health kits to address environmental asthma triggers in the home

The Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers will conduct the evaluation of this program and the impact of this effort to provide more services to children displaying early asthma symptoms in targeted neighboring communities.

“This effort keeps the promise we made to the community to be part of the solution and not the problem,’’ said Massport CEO Thomas P. Glynn. “We are proud to be part of an effort, under the leadership of Speaker DeLeo and Senator Petruccelli, among others, that connects state and local resources to identify these public health issues and then ensure everyone gets the screenings and treatment they need.’’

Massport has made great strides to reduce emissions ever since Speaker DeLeo and Senate leaders first commissioned this study in 2000. Emissions are down 49% since 2000, representing the balance Massport tries to achieve between fulfilling our transportation mission and protecting the quality of life of residents who live next door. Massport continues to promote the various public transportation and HOV options for travelers and employees at Logan Airport.

Inquiries about this program may be directed to the East Boston Neighborhood Health Center at 617-569-5800

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The Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport) owns and operates Boston Logan International Airport, public terminals in the Port of Boston, Hanscom Field and Worcester Regional Airport. Massport is a financially self-sustaining public authority whose premier transportation facilities generate more than $8 billion annually, and enhance and enable economic growth and vitality in New England. No state tax dollars are used to fund operations or capital improvements at Massport facilities.  

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