Asthma program aims to stop attacks before they start by identifying triggers in the home

..A pilot program aims to reach the poorest of New Jersey's children and their families, by visiting the homes of young patients to reinforce the importance of medication and search for environmental asthma triggers. 

The program is funded by a private philanthropic organization and will take place in Passaic and Monmouth counties, Trenton and Newark. Its effectiveness will then be evaluated with the hope of expanding such visits statewide.  

The program, funded with a $1 million grant from the Nicholson Foundation, will target 480 families over two years. The children must be insured under New Jersey FamilyCare, the state Medicaid program. Each is to receive two visits a month apart, followed by a third visit or telephone call six weeks later, to see if changes made are being sustained.  

It's the first project undertaken by the fledgling Health Coalition of Passaic County, founded last December with support from the Nicholson Foundation.

Jersey Shore University Medical Center, working with the Visiting Nurse Association of Central Jersey Community Health Center Inc. in Asbury Park, Keyport and Red Bank, also has funding to visit 120 patients.