2022 Grants Challenge

Respiratory Health Improvement Project (RHIP)

The California Aquatic Therapy & Wellness Center (dba Pools of Hope) implements the Respiratory Health Improvement Project to address high rates of asthma among school-aged children in the historically underserved areas of North Long Beach, Compton and Paramount. Pools of Hope is addressing the repercussions of poor air quality on children's health by increasing access to asthma screenings and care. Funding will support respiratory health education outreach to prevent and reduce symptoms of respiratory illness among at-risk families.


What is the primary issue area that your application will impact?

Climate and Environment

In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

South LA

South Bay

In what stage of innovation is this project, program, or initiative?

Expand existing project, program, or initiative

What is your understanding of the issue that you are seeking to address?

According to the CA Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, the North Long Beach community surrounding Pools of Hope has the highest level of burden and vulnerability to multiple sources of pollution (above 90%); the CalEnviroScreen 4.0 also demonstrates the rates of asthma measure between 87-92% higher than the rest of the state's census tracts. In 2019, the American Fitness Index ranked Long Beach with the worst air quality in the nation, in a comparison of 100 large cities. Poor air pollution from port traffic, refineries, factories, heavily trafficked roads and environmental hazards are bombarding residents. Approximately 100 individuals for every 10,000 accessed emergency department services for asthma in the years 2015-2017. It is safe to assume the numbers continue to increase with pollutants and fires. The threat is multi-generational, as families tend to stay in the area and their children have children living in the same region, breathing the same conditions.

Describe the project, program, or initiative this grant will support to address the issue.

Pools of Hope is proposing to build the capacity of our existing respiratory health program by adding a part-time, culturally- and linguistically-competent Community Health Outreach Coordinator, to provide health education and resources for families in North Long Beach, Compton and Paramount. At this time, there is no direct support for asthma and respiratory conditions in our region. Pools of Hope fills a gap in providing wellness services for hard-to-reach populations, including at-risk populations of color, low-income families, and people living with a disability and/or chronic conditions. Pools of Hope has been implementing the RHIP for school-aged children in North Long Beach, Compton and Paramount since 2018. The project was piloted with a Community Health Grant from the Port of Long Beach to address high rates of asthma in the Port's northernmost catchment area. Based on experience, Pools of Hope has determined the need for a dedicated Coordinator to conduct RHIP outreach and education. The Coordinator will increase awareness of asthma triggers (mold, pests, smoking), teach medication adherence, and provide monitoring tools. As a community-based, nonprofit organization, Pools of Hope works continually to address emerging needs and develop aquatic, therapeutic, rehabilitative and recreational programs that will improve physical, mental and social well-being for North Long Beach, Compton and Paramount residents.

Describe how Los Angeles County will be different if your work is successful.

Pools of Hope will build resilience in the community by empowering residents to better manage their respiratory health and breath better each day. Located in an under-resourced region of North Long Beach, Pools of Hope's surrounding neighborhoods have a CA Healthy Places Index of less than 25%, where residents face challenges with a lack economic security, poor educational outcomes, crowded housing, unsafe neighborhoods, and environmental stressors. Residents are a Medically Underserved Population, in a Medically Underserved Area. According to the CA State Parks Community Fact Finder, our community is Severely Disadvantaged. Low-income families from communities of color face disproportionate exposure to environmental hazards and negative health outcomes in our service area. Ultimately, respiratory health education and increased access to screenings will reduce hospitalizations and emergency room visits, decrease missed work and school days, and improve overall quality of life.

What evidence do you have that this project, program, or initiative is or will be successful, and how will you define and measure success?

Pools of Hope is rooted in increasing equity for marginalized populations, taking an asset-based approach to improve overall health and well-being. We maximize our resources and partnerships to promote inclusivity, understanding and growth. The RHIP pilot proved successful in reaching school-aged children where they learn and play. We partner with Long Beach, Paramount, and Compton Unified School Districts to bring a mobile unit directly to schools for asthma screenings. This reduces barriers of cost, transportation and insurance for at-risk, socio-economically disadvantaged families. In 2022, we received renewed funding from a Port of Long Beach Community Health Grant to continue the project through 2024. We are partnering with the St. Mary Medical Center to utilize their Mobile Unit to provide screenings on-site at our facility and local schools. The proposed project would expand the reach of RHIP by adding a Pools of Hope staff position to coordinate this important program.

Approximately how many people will be impacted by this project, program, or initiative?

Direct Impact: 200

Indirect Impact: 10,000