I am a Master of Social Work (MSW) student, recently diagnosed with asthma. The 50 States United for Healthy Air event is a platform that I can utilize to advocate for clean air, while bringing awareness to the importance of early asthma diagnosis and intervention. For the children of this world, the math is simple: Healthy Environment + Healthy Children = Healthy Future.
No child should have to suffer a health ailment that could be avoided if adults made responsible environmental decisions.
Atlanta faces many types of environmental pollution. This pollution results in negative health effects, including asthma and cancer. Within the first year that I relocated to Atlanta, I experienced my first asthma attack and was diagnosed with asthma. At the doctor’s office, I learned that my oxygen level was very low. I had to get breathing treatments and steroids. Fortunately, I was a working young adult with health insurance. I am now on a maintenance program for my asthma. After being diagnosed, I decided to research asthma. I found that Atlanta was named the asthma capital in 2007 and has consistently been deemed one of the worst cities for asthmatics.
I also found that a major contributor to asthma is environmental pollution. A year later, I decided to go back to school to get a Master’s degree in social work. As a social work student, I am constantly encouraged to be an advocate for the under-served. I am particularly interested in addressing the needs of children. It’s disheartening to find that in 2009, according to the Centers for Disease Control, 1 in 10 children had asthma. Environmental health issues are more prevalent in low-income communities and affect minorities at a higher rate. The CDC said the greatest rise in asthma rates was among black children (almost a 50% increase) from 2001 through 2009.
No child should have to suffer a health aliment that could be avoided if adults made responsible environmental decisions. Just as violence is a visible threat to our youth, environmental negligence is a threat as well. Environmentally charged health issues cost money that some people don’t have and result in negative impacts on the overall quality of life. As a young adult social work student with asthma, it is important for me to advocate for change for those who need it most.