Yolanda Sanchez

Project title: Temporal Patterns of Asthma Hospitalizations in the Yakima Valley Community of Washington

Degree: MS | Program: Environmental Health (EH) | Project type: Thesis/Dissertation
Completed in: 2007 | Faculty advisor: Matthew C. Keifer


Asthma is a chronic disease hat can severely burden the quality of life of an asthmatic and their family. Burden includes medical costs, activity limitation, trips to the emergency room or hospital, missed school and work days, and poor health status. The economic impact of asthma is high for public heath systems, worker compensation systems, Medicaid/Medicare, and industry. Total costs associated with asthma, medical and lost productivity costs, are estimated to be $400 million each year in Washington State. In addition, asthma disparately afflicts both poor and minority individuals. These populations have higher burden of asthmatic attacks and increased impact of asthma on their daily lives. Altogether, asthma creates a high public health burden and deserves attention from health practitioners, health clinics, health emergency facilities, health disparity advocates, and decision-makers along with asthmatics and their families.

The farm working community of the Yakima Valley has recognized the burden of asthma. In a 2004 community survey, respondents indicated pediatric asthma as the number one environmental health concern. In a subsequent community survey in 2005, respondents expressed concern about an association between agriculture and asthma. El Proyecto Bienestar, a community-based participatory research project in the Yakima Valley community, wanted these topics to be further explored. Therefore, the purpose of this thesis was to examine issues regarding high burden of asthma among the Yakima Valley community, and its possible relationship with agriculture.

Taken from the beginning of thesis.