NEWTOWN SQUARE, Pa.--()--AmeriHealth Caritas, a national leader in Medicaid managed care, is collaborating with a physician-led, national non-profit organization to provide training for its health care providers to learn how gas stoves contribute to childhood asthma and other respiratory ailments.

The online training course is being offered nearly every week by Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR), a non-profit that mobilizes physicians about the consequences of climate change and other environmental hazards to health. The webinar training program called Cooking with Gas: Health Harms from Gas Stoves will inform health care providers about the dangerous indoor air pollutants produced by natural gas appliances, what these pollutants do to the human body, and how they as health professionals can protect their patients and their families.

Upon completion of the course, health care providers will earn continuing medical education (CME) credits or continuing education unit (CEU) credits.

Cooking with gas stoves creates nitrogen dioxide, which has been linked with childhood asthma. During 2019 alone, almost two million cases worldwide of new childhood asthma were estimated to be due to nitrogen dioxide pollution.1

According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA), the burden of asthma in the United States falls disproportionately on Black, Hispanic, and American Indian/Alaska Native people. These groups have the highest asthma rates, deaths and hospitalizations.2

“Studies have shown that low-income families who tend to reside in neighborhoods with low housing quality often have higher rates of asthma,” said Karen Dale, Chief Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer of the AmeriHealth Family of Companies and Market President AmeriHealth Caritas District of Columbia. “While it is known that mold poses an asthma risk to children, we should address the impact of gas stoves on the health of children in vulnerable communities.”

Jeff Carter, PSR Executive Director, said the webinar training centers on environmental justice, illuminating the racial and class disparities in health outcomes while providing the historical context of environmental racism and redlining to explain how these disparities came to be and why they persist today.

“Increased exposure to indoor air pollutants leads to prevalence of asthma, especially for low-income families,” Carter said. “By educating providers to the dangers of gas stoves, we hope to begin to tackle this health disparity.”

Training that informs providers of household contributors to childhood asthma will augment the managed care organization’s efforts to educate asthma sufferers and their families about how to manage the disease and help those with asthma live healthier, happier lives.

About AmeriHealth Caritas

AmeriHealth Caritas is one of the nation’s leaders in health care solutions for those most in need. Operating in 12 states and the District of Columbia, AmeriHealth Caritas serves approximately 5 million Medicaid, Medicare, Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and Health Insurance Marketplace® members through its integrated managed care products, pharmaceutical benefit management and specialty pharmacy services, and behavioral health services. Headquartered in Newtown Square, Pa., AmeriHealth Caritas is a mission-driven organization with nearly 40 years of experience serving low-income and chronically ill populations. For more information, visit www.amerihealthcaritas.com.

About Physician for Social Responsibility

PSR mobilizes physicians and health professionals to advocate for climate solutions and a nuclear-weapons-free world. PSR’s health advocates contribute a health voice to energy, environmental health, and nuclear weapons policy at the local, federal and international levels.

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REFERENCES

1 Have a gas stove? How to reduce pollution that may harm health. www.health.harvard.edu/blog/have-a-gas-stove-how-to-reduce-pollution-that-may-harm-health-202209072811#:~:text=Cooking%20with%20gas%20stoves%20creates,been%20linked%20with%20childhood%20asthma

2 Asthma Disparities in America. aafa.org/asthma-allergy-research/our-research/asthma-disparities-burden-on-minorities/#:~:text=The%20burden%20of%20asthma%20in,asthma%20rates%2C%20deaths%20and%20hospitalizations.

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