January 2016

The California School Environmental Health and Asthma Collaborative
brings together education and health professionals to promote indoor and outdoor environments that maximize health and learning in schools.
SEHAC Featured Resource
Comprehensive California Asthma Data
For people interested in data on asthma in California, SEHAC recommends the Asthma in California: A Surveillance Report , produced by California Breathing, the asthma program in the California Department of Public Health. This report presents a comprehensive picture of the asthma in the state, compiling all available asthma surveillance data into a single source.
  Included in the Report
  • Asthma rates over time and by age, sex, race/ethnicity, and other characteristics
  • Comparisons of California's rates to national goals
  • Data on asthma prevalence, morbidity, health care utilization & quality
  • Special sections on environmental risk factors and work-related asthma
Key Findings:
  • Approximately five million Californians - or one in eight people - have been diagnosed with asthma.
  • In 2010, there were almost 35,000 asthma hospitalizations in California, which resulted in over $1 billion in annual charges.
  • There are dramatic differences in asthma by race/ethnicity. This is most striking for Blacks, who have 40 percent higher asthma prevalence, four times higher asthma ED visit and hospitalization rates, and two times higher asthma death rates than Whites.
  • Areas with lower median incomes have higher rates of asthma hospitalizations and ED visits, and adults with  lower incomes are less likely to have well-controlled asthma.
  • On average, people with asthma are exposed to 2-3 asthma triggers in the home. About 10 percent of adults and 5 percent of children with current asthma are exposed to secondhand smoke in the home.
An accompanying set of slides summarizes the key findings
in the report and provides graphs and charts in an easily
usable format. You can download both the report and
slideshow  below. In addition, you may also access the 2007 report.
Additional Information
The Surveillance Report is accompanied by fact sheets and slide shows that are posted on the California Breathing website .
Don't miss this comprehensive, valuable, revealing information.

SEHAC Featured Member

Every breath; every child; one voice
By Justine Fischer, California State PTA President

The numbers don't lie. According to the California Department of Public Health (CDPH):
  • California children miss 1.2 million school days per year due to asthma.
  • There are 100,000 new child asthma cases diagnosed each year.
  • More than 1 million California children have been diagnosed with asthma.
  • All those numbers add up to one thing: We must do better for our children.
Concerned parents, teachers and advocates involved in PTA have been on the forefront of addressing asthma's many causes. California State PTA advocates who foresaw the disease's growing danger passed resolutions as far back as 1972 calling for reducing air pollution, toxins and pesticide use as well as for increasing indoor air quality in schools.
That's why we stand with CDPH's and SEHAC's efforts to keep "California Breathing." California State PTA's motto is "every child; one voice" - together, our organizations and all advocates throughout the state can use our collective voice to speak out and create change for the health, success and future of California's children.
For more than a century, children's health has been a vital part of PTA's mission, and so much has been accomplished over the years. But asthma, its causes and its impacts on California's children must continue to urgently be addressed: For children and families struggling with asthma, every minute - and every breath -matters.
California State PTA looks forward to working side-by-side with SEHAC and CDPH and all other advocates for a healthier future for California children.
For more information on our health efforts and to join, please visit capta.org.
Underinvestment in California's K-12 school facilities Study

By Jeff Vincent
New UC Berkeley study ( executive summary ) finds widespread underinvestment in California's K-12 school facilities, highlighting educational and healthy equity concerns. In Going it Alone, Can California's K-12 School Districts Adequately and Equitably Fund School Facilities?, Jeff Vincent and Liz Jain of Berkeley's Center for Cities+Schools analyze recent spending by districts on their facilities. They find that compared to industry standards, there is an ongoing, structural pattern of inadequate and inequitable spending in many school districts:
  • Majority of school districts underspend on facilities
  • Wealthy districts spend more on facilities, especially construction and renovation
  • Districts serving low-income students disproportionately spend more per student on facility maintenance from their operating budgets
  "This trend signals costly long-term consequences for the state as accumulated facility needs risk becoming a health and safety crisis," according to the analysis, which notes that more than two-thirds of the state's public school buildings are more than 25 years old. Overall, these findings suggest that many districts, particularly those serving high-need students, risk grossly underfunded facilities budgets; thus deteriorating schools, and declining educational outcomes if they are left on their own, without state support for capital needs. The report concludes by identifying policy reforms that will move California to a more coherent system of school facility finance that promotes adequacy, equity, public accountability, and affordability, including:
  • Establishing stable and dedicated state funds for K-12 school facilities.
  • Distributing K-12 school facility funds equitable, adjusting for local wealth.
  • Improving standards for school facility planning and budgeting.
  • Establishing a California School Facility Database to guide spending. 
Citing this report, current and former State Superintendents of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson and Jack O'Connell call for a renewed investment in our state's school infrastructure in a recent op-ed . With signatures gathered for a school facility bond on the 2016 ballot and Governor Brown countering with a commitment to work with the legislature to develop a new state school facility program that focuses on districts with the greatest need, now is a good time for those interested in the health of students and school facilities to pay close attention to policy discussions in Sacramento. 

May 20, 2016
The California Endowment,
in downtown Oakland.
In This Issue
Resources for Schools 

is a toolkit that provides teachers with easy-to-use and engaging lesson plans, activities, and other resources to teach students about the connections between air quality, health, weather, and other related science topics.

The parents and children's tool, Wellapets,  has f un and educational content to empower kids to cultivate positive lifestyles and habits.
The Green Cleaning for Healthy Schools Toolkit contains two links with information on healthy school cleaning and various tools such as free posters, two webinars, tip sheets, and checklists.

in Schools   promotes a healthy learning environment through improving indoor air quality and increasing awareness of potential asthma triggers in the school environment.

SEHAC has a
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SEHAC Website 

Where you can find:

Asthma QuickTakes (AQT) - SEHAC's series of four-to-eight minute narrated films on important asthma-related topics. 
Asthma Statistics-  Information for the California Department of Public Health's Asthma in California.
Documents and Online Resources - Extensive online information and tools.
Information About SEHAC- A variety of documents detailing SEHAC's history, current members, a membership application, and contact information.

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