Union Settlement Association

237 E. 104th Street
10029 New York , NY
New York

Program Type:



Ellen P. Simon, DSW
Union Settlement increases asthma awareness and reduces asthma rates in the community through its Childcare Program and partner organizations.

Since 1895, Union Settlement Association has worked with and for the struggling immigrant community of East Harlem. Each year, we serve more than 13,000 low-income, minority residents through effective programs in education, childcare, the arts, senior services, counseling, job training and economic development. Despite a significant decrease in recent years, East Harlem still boasts the highest rate of pediatric asthma in New York City. As a 113-year-old community institution in East Harlem and one of its largest providers of childcare services, Union Settlement has dedicated substantial energies in recent years to increasing asthma awareness and reducing asthma rates in the community.

Our Childcare Program has strong partners in these efforts, including Metropolitan Hospital, Mt. Sinai Medical Center and Settlement Health, a community health provider. Our primary partner, however, has been with the New York Academy of Medicine’s Center for Urban Epidemiological Studies (CUES), which conducts collaborative, multi-disciplinary, population-based research, with a special focus on low-income populations, in order to increase understanding of health threats in urban areas. We have worked on many projects together, including a CDC Asthma in Head Start Centers research project and an NIH-funded Asthma Surveillance and Education in Preschool Settings project.

For the past three years, we have conducted NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene-funded asthma tracking and training activities in childcare and Head Start facilities throughout East and Central Harlem to combat high rates of pediatric asthma. Since the program began, we have set up tracking systems at 41 centers, assisting staff in developing site-specific asthma plans to address care coordination for the children they serve who have been diagnosed with asthma. We have enrolled 2,700 children in the program and more than 500 staff members and parents have received asthma training, gaining vital awareness and learning ways to help control their child’s asthma.