Guest post by: Veronica Combs, Director of Community Engagement, AIR Louisville
AIR Louisville, a joint partnership between Propeller Health, the Institute for Healthy Air, Water, and Soil, the Louisville Metro Public Health and Wellness Department, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation officially launched March 20. AIR Louisville is the first-of-its-kind data-driven collaboration among public, private and philanthropic organizations to use digital health technology to improve asthma. Kentucky has the fourth highest adult asthma prevalence in the US and Louisville consistently ranks among the top 20 “most challenging” cities to live in with asthma. Leveraging Propeller Health’s FDA-approved medication inhaler sensors, the program will track when, where and how often residents of Louisville experience asthma symptoms. These data, along with Propeller Health’s personalized asthma management system, will help patients to better manage their asthma symptoms, and aid city leaders in making smarter decisions about how to keep the air clean.
Louisville was graced with a visit from Their Royal Highnesses, the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, who came to celebrate the innovative programs that are growing to support Louisville’s environment, health systems, and food networks. Prince Charles is passionate about the environment, and has been writing and speaking for decades about the connection between the environment and human health (see Prince Charles’ book Harmony.)
AIR Louisville joined the festivities at the African American Heritage Center, where we hosted an exhibit to talk to the attendees about the program. The Prince and Duchess stopped by and spoke to the whole crew, asking thoughtful questions and checking out Propeller Health’s sensors up close.
David Van Sickle, CEO and co-founder of Propeller Health, spoke from the main stage in the morning as part of a series of Ignite talks given by local food advocates, land use experts, and health specialists. Meredith Barrett, VP of Science and Research, participated in the afternoon roundtable on health and the environment, a special gathering of healthcare leaders, doctors, and advocates who discussed the connections between health and the environment.
The Prince of Wales joined the roundtable and added his interesting perspective, which aligned well with the group. In his speech later that afternoon, Prince Charles proposed, “You can see that the health of people directly affects the health of an economy. So perhaps, at the end of the day, it might be cheaper to join up the dots and [reduce] pollution, rather than pursue the more expensive option of encouraging people to take yet more pills.”
Prince Charles urged the audience to use the research to understand how pollution impacts the health and economies of our cities. AIR Louisville could not agree more.
We will use the data collected from Propeller’s sensors to look at the connection between asthma, air quality and other environmental drivers. This work will help individuals, city leaders and company executives start to understand the connection between air quality and the burden of asthma. This analysis will also help to start calculating the healthcare costs associated with asthma and air quality.
AIR Louisville is a new way of thinking about health – how to measure it and what it means to an entire community. As AIR Louisville moves forward, we look forward to sharing our analysis and conclusions – and recommendations for change – with all our local partners and any royal fans we win along the way.
For more coverage of the launch, read on with a few examples: