Asthma is a disease that affects the lungs, and when triggered, causes wheezing, coughing, and difficulty breathing. According to the CDC, 8.0% of adults have asthma and 7.0% of children under the age of 18 have asthma in the US. There is no cure for asthma, but it can be controlled with medication and avoiding asthma-related triggers. Download our Asthma Control Program brochure(PDF, 2MB).

Asthma in Allegheny County

In Allegheny County, it is estimated that 10% of adults (source: 2015-2016 Allegheny County Health Survey) live with asthma. Prevalence has not decline in recent years and minorities are disproportionately impacted. For example, 27% of black teens report having asthma, compared to 20% of white teens (source: 2014 Allegheny County Teens Survey).

Furthermore, the burden of asthma is greater in certain communities compared to others. Children in the City of Pittsburgh, Wilkinsburg, and the Mon Valley are more likely to seek emergency room care and be hospitalized for an asthma attack compared to children residing in other communities (source: 2019 Allegheny County Task Force Report)

Risk Factors for Asthma

  • Tobacco smoke
  • Air pollution
  • Indoor triggers: dust, animal dander, and other allergens
  • Family history
  • Allergies
  • Obesity
  • Occupational exposures
  • Poverty and lack of health insurance

Asthma Prevention

The CDC’s National Asthma Control Program (NACP) and its partners are working to help people with asthma achieve better health and improved quality of life. NACP developed EXHALE, a set of six strategies that each contribute to better asthma control:

  • E – Education on asthma self-management
  • X – eXtinguishing smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke
  • H – Home visits for trigger reduction and asthma self-management education
  • A – Achievement of guidelines based medical management
  • L – Linkages and coordination of care across settings
  • E – Environmental policies or best practices to reduce asthma triggers from indoor, outdoor, or occupational sources

Allegheny County Asthma Resources

Allegheny County Asthma Resources flyer(PDF, 197KB)

UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh Pediatric Asthma Center
Dedicated to improving awareness and reducing the burden of childhood asthma through clinical care, research, community outreach, and education.

UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh Difficult-to-Treat Asthma Clinic

  • Comprehensive Multidisciplinary Clinical Care for Pediatric Asthma
  • Dr. Allyson Larkin and Dr. Erick Forno, 412-692-7885

Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh Asthma Care Videos
Assorted educational videos, all 2-4 mins long, on how to use a spacer, what well controlled asthma really is, and more!

Children’s Hospital Family Care Connections

Children’s Hospital Family Care Connections provides free home nursing visits and family support services regardless of income. All will provide a home nurse visit in their catchment area if requested after asthma admission. Not dependent on income or insurance status. Any age child who needs extra support for asthma (or other medical condition). Locations are in: Braddock, Mt. Oliver, Turtle Creek, Rankin, Penn Hills, & Lawrenceville.

Note: Also provides services in parenting education, child development, mental health services and substance abuse prevention and treatment.

Allegheny Health Network Pediatric Institute

AHN Pediatric Institute’s Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology office concentrates on diagnosing and treating children and adults with those health issues. The practice is built around individual needs and accepts all major health insurance. Locations:

Allergy Office—Wexford
6500 Brooktree Road
Suite 101
Wexford, PA 15090
Phone: 412-348-6868
Fax: 412-348-1064

Allergy Office—McMurray
455 Valley Brook Road
Suite 300
McMurray, PA 15317
Phone: 412-578-4003
Fax: 412-578-4011

Bloomfield Multi-Specialty Office
West Penn Hospital – Mellon Pavilion
4815 Liberty Avenue, Suite 154
Pittsburgh, PA 15224
Phone: 412-578-4003
Fax: 412-578-4011

BreathePa Program and Resources for Allegheny County


The School Asthma Initiative (SAI) Program provides asthma education, training, and intervention services to school nurses, early learning practitioners, children with asthma, and their parents/caregivers. SAI is implemented in the school and community settings. This program is group-based and taught by Breathe PA’s Certified Asthma Educators. Each education session may be taught in-person or virtually. Education curriculum and an Asthma Kit include asthma educational materials on proper use of asthma medications, spacers and peak flow meters, a spacer, and Asthma Action Workbook.

  • Target Population: Children with asthma, their parents/caregivers, and school personnel (early learning, primary, and secondary school staff).
  • Contacts: Jeannie Simms, BA, AE-C, Senior Director, Asthma Education &/or Jessica Schuman, RN, BSN, AE-C, Director, Asthma Education

The Direct Lung Disease Education Program provides tailored health education for adults with chronic lung disease that focuses on the pathophysiology of lung disease, techniques for communicating with health care providers, decision-making strategies, and disease self-management. In addition to education, patients may receive devices to better manage their lung disease (spacer or Positive Expiratory Pressure device) along with demonstration of proper technique provided by educator. This program is delivered one-on-one by a staff Respiratory Therapist and includes a patient interview, discussion, written materials, teach-back, and return demonstration.

  • Target Population: Adults with chronic lung diseases.
  • Contact: Marianne Drevna, BS, LRCP, Director of Adult Lung Education and Programs

The Sleep Apnea Program consists of a sleep apnea support group for patients (SLEEP Group), printed resources for providers that diagnose, treat, and manage sleep apnea, and web-based resources for patients.

  • Target Population: Adults and health care providers in the sleep apnea community.
  • Contact: Alison Garcia, BS, MLS, Program Associate

Note: Discounted Kennywood, Children’s Museum, or Zoo day every summer for kids ages 5-10, with asthma, along with their families. Contact BreathePA or call 724-772-1750 for more information.

Duquesne University Center for Integrative Health (DUCIH) Asthma Programs

Duquesne University Center for Integrative Health (DUCIH) Asthma Programs

DUCIH School-based Asthma Clinic

An interdisciplinary care team from DUCIH and local FQHCs provide comprehensive school-based asthma management in Allegheny County. This can include diagnosis, medication management, asthma-self management education, and/or coordination of care.

  • Contact: Brittani Namey412-377-6326
  • Schools: Clairton School District, Propel Hazelwood, South Allegheny Elementary, Woodland Hills (Edgewood & Wilkins).

Community-based Asthma Education and Support Program

A team of community health workers provide asthma self-management education, address social determinants of health, provide care coordination, and connect families to home remediation programs:

Women for a Healthy Environment

In 2022, Women for a Healthy Environment (WHE) was awarded a grant from HUD to fund a program aimed at reducing the burden of asthma and its symptoms for families in Allegheny County. Over the next 3 years we will work to identify and enroll 130 households in the program. This is especially important because across our county prevalence of asthma, emergency department visits, and hospitalizations are higher than the national average and disproportionally impact children of color. Eligibility is based on household size and income, having a child with a diagnosis in the home under the age of 18, and being in the Allegheny County. At this time, we have distributed our information to health centers, clinicians, and at community events. We are in the process of hiring a communications firm to help us target our messages and outreach to the communities that need it most. See the Asthma Program page.

Home Visiting Programs for Environmental Asthma Triggers

WHE provides FREE virtual or in-person healthy home checkups for families who live in Allegheny County. They help eliminate asthma triggers, identify lead-based paint concerns, and discover hazards related to radon and asbestos. Get free healthy home kit and $25 gift card to Wal-Mart or Giant Eagle for home checkup completion.

Resources to Help Quit Smoking/Tobacco

For many people, quitting smoking is hard. Some people try to stop many times before they succeed. Trying is part of the process. Don’t give up. You can do this! If a young family member wants to quit smoking, you can ask their pediatrician to write a prescription for nicotine patches and gum that they can access from the pharmacy at child’s discharge. Typically covered by the adult insurance plans.

PA Free Quitline

PA Free Quitline Services Include:

  • Up to five quit coach calls
  • Two or more weeks of nicotine replacement therapy, if available
  • Unlimited, inbound calls for additional support during times of high risk for using tobacco
  • Pregnancy Protocol designed specifically to help women during pregnancy

Other Smoking Cessation Resources

UPMC Quitting Smoking – call 1-800-533-8762 (main line) or 412-784-5043 (Free smoking cessation classes are offered with this local number)

Duquesne Asthma Clinic and Live Well Allegheny Virtual Smoking Cessation classes. For information call or text 412-342-8276 – A great website that has information about how to set a quit date, tips for stopping smoking, making a quit plan, explore different quit methods, etc. You can sign up for texts or chat online for information.

Smoke free TXT – A free text service that helps you stop smoking. Text QUIT to 47848 [*data message rates may apply]

Tobacco Free Adagio Health1-800-215-7494

Allegheny County Asthma Control Project

Our mission is to improve asthma outcomes for children using an evidence-based approach to lower asthma emergency department visits, hospitalization, increase asthma self-management skills, and impact asthma policy. Partners in this project include the following.

Breathe Pennsylvania

The Mission of Breathe Pennsylvania is to help Western Pennsylvanians breathe better and live healthier through education and awareness of lung health in our community.

  • Empower individuals through awareness, education and direct services
  • School Asthma Initiative (SAI) for students with asthma K-8
  • Educate on second – hand smoke and provide smoking cessation resources

Women for a Healthy Environment

Women for a Healthy Environment educates and empowers women to act as ambassadors about environmental risks so they can make healthy choices for themselves and their families and advocate for change for a better tomorrow for all.

  • Referrals to Safe and Healthy Homes Program
  • Educate residents about indoor air quality, outdoor air quality, and asthma triggers

American Lung Association

The mission of the American Lung Association is to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease. We do this through education, advocacy, and research.

Allegheny County Asthma Task Force

In February of 2018, the Health Department launched an Asthma Task Force to review available data and identify strategies to decrease asthma-related visits to the emergency room. The task force is a collaborative effort bringing together partners from various backgrounds, including health care providers, environmental activists, insurers, pediatric asthma experts, school nurses and parents, who are all working together to examine the data and come up with solutions.

Tobacco Cessation Resources

Secondhand smoke can be a health hazard leading to 41,000 deaths per year. It can cause or make worsen a wide range of damaging health effects in children and adults, including lung cancer, respiratory infections, and asthma.