Asthma Cooperative Agreement Partner Profile – Pennsylvania

At a glance

CDC is funding the health departments in California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Houston, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, Texas, Utah, Vermont, and Wisconsin to improve the reach, quality, effectiveness, and sustainability of asthma control services and to reduce asthma morbidity, mortality and disparities by implementing evidence-based strategies.


The Pennsylvania Asthma Program has been part of CDC's National Asthma Control Program since 2000. They work alongside partners to improve the quality of asthma care, improve asthma management in schools, and foster policies to help reduce exposure to asthma triggers in outdoor, indoor, and workplace environments.

  • Pennsylvania Department of Health
  • Sara E. Thuma
    Public Health Program Administrator
  • (717) 547-3216
  • Bureau of Health Promotion and Risk Reduction625 Forster Street, Room 1000
    Health and Welfare Bldg.
    Harrisburg, PA 17120
Data Profile
Grantee Profile


Duquesne University Center for Integrative Health is working with seven schools across four school districts in Allegheny County to expand access to and delivery of asthma self-management education (AS-ME) through school clinics. All schools served were located within environmental justice areas where asthma prevalence is high and where they may have fewer resources for asthma control. During the 2021–2022 school year, 74 students participated in the clinic’s AS-ME. At enrollment, over half of the participants had intermittent asthma, 65% were taking their medication only partially as prescribed or not at all as prescribed, 8% had at least one emergency department visit, and four had at least one prior hospitalization due to asthma. Of the 61 participants who had an asthma control test at least twice, those with well and poorly controlled asthma at enrollment had improved asthma control at the most recent visit. Those with moderate asthma severity made significant improvement in asthma control at the most recent visit.

Allentown, located within an environmental justice area, is identified by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America 2021 rankings as the number one asthma capital in the United States. A company was contracted to recruit and provide quality improvement (QI) activities to achieve guidelines-based medical management of asthma to a federally qualified health center (FQHC) in Lehigh County. Lehigh County has one of the highest age-adjusted asthma hospitalization rates in the state. Five sites located in Allentown participate with this FQHC. They serve a patient population that is primarily Spanish-speaking (97%). Identified activities in the QI action plan include initiating a flu vaccine protocol for August and September appointments; using the asthma control test to categorize and measure asthma severity; scheduling timely follow-up appointments after exacerbations, medication changes, and respiratory illnesses; and providers discussing with patients and caregivers the need to increase the frequency of appointments for patients with asthma to maintain asthma control. The electronic health record (EHR) did not have an asthma control test in either English or Spanish; therefore, in February 2023, both English and Spanish versions of the asthma control test were released into the FQHC’s EHR system.

What the data shows


1,032,246 Adults with asthma

283,380 Children with asthma

In 2020, a total of 1,032,246 Pennsylvania adults (10.2% of the adult population) had asthma, and 283,380 Pennsylvania children ages 0–17 years (11.5%) had it.


29,062 ER visits

8,568 Hospitalizations

In 2019, Pennsylvania had 29,062 emergency department visits and 8,568 hospitalizations due to asthma.