The Problem

Dr. Burns with a guest at the unveling.In California, about 1.5 million (23.6%) or 1 in 6 children have asthma in the age group 5–17 years. In Alameda County, 1 in 4 children have asthma in this age group. Of all the cities in Alameda County, Oakland has the highest rate of Emergency Department (ED) visits, 40% higher than the County rate. African American children visit the ED at a rate 12 times higher than Asian/Pacific Islanders and 4 times higher than Latinos and Whites.

In West Oakland, African American children are 5 times more likely to be hospitalized for asthma than other ethnic groups. 20% of the children and 37% of adults have asthma in West Oakland. Other areas with similar demographics, Emeryville, South-West Berkeley, parts of Contra Costa County (such as Richmond) and Bay View Hunter’s Point in San Francisco have similar asthma problems.

Latino children have a higher rate of ED visits than Caucasian children. Currently in California, there are 1.1 million Latinos, including approximately 400,000 children who suffer from asthma. Since Latinos are currently the fastest growing ethnic group in the State, the potential impact of asthma in California in this group in coming years is enormous.

Data from the Department of Health Services of California looking at ED visits, hospitalizations and medication purchases show that generally speaking, Zip Code 94607 (West Oakland), ranks very high for events reflecting severe asthma and/or poor access to preventive care, and ranks very low for events reflecting the standards of care such as maintenance medication purchases.

« Previous | Next »