The LAC+USC Breathmobile Program is the first and original Breathmobile Program: a mobile asthma clinic on wheels.  Established in 1995, this is the first comprehensive pediatric asthma management program in the nation to roll out on wheels to school and community sites.  The LAC+USC Breathmobile program is a comprehensive, mobile-based pediatric asthma disease management program that delivers asthma-specialty care to inner-city children at no costs to their families. It was created in 1995 as a collaborative effort to improve preventative asthma care for underserved children in Los Angeles County by providing local site team-based asthma care to decrease health disparities.
Our program was designed to overcome barriers to healthcare and improve the health of low-income asthmatic children and their families with limited access to care and medications.   The program started with one mobile unit delivering care to 18 school sites.   Since the LAC+USC Breathmobile program’s inception in 1995, the one mobile unit program has expanded to four operational units and has served over 100 various local community sites.Asthma is the most common chronic disease of childhood, accounting for 47.8% of the emergency department visits and 34.6% of the hospitalizations in children less than 18 years old (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).  Asthma accounts for 14 million lost days of school annually, and costs $3.2 billion per year in treatment for the under 18 population.  The indirect costs from lost productivity of family members who need to care for their sick children may well be triple the direct costs.  National asthma prevalence rates are estimated at 8-10% with prevalence rates estimated as high as 20-25% for certain inner-city areas in Southern California.  Low-income and uninsured residents are disproportionately affected by asthma because they do not have access to preventive and ongoing medical care, often relying on episodic and urgent care for acute asthma attacks.

The program is based at the Los Angeles County + University of Southern California (LAC+USC) Medical Center, Department of Pediatrics, Division of Allergy and Immunology with ongoing financial support provided by LAC+USC Medical Center. The program was begun as a collaborative effort among the LAC+USC Medical Center Los Angeles County Department of Health Services (DHS), Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America- California Chapter (AAFA), and the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) with initial year of project funding supported through partnership grants.  Since the inception of the Breathmobile, we have partnered with various organizations to provide continued services.  These partnerships have included EIB Active, Louis Legacy Foundation, Trevor Ariza Asthma Awareness Foundation, Breathe LA, Montebello School District, St. Michael’s Parish, Southern California Air Quality Management District, and MCAN (list not all-inclusive).

Since November 15, 1995, the Los Angeles Breathmobiles have reached over 14,000 unique asthma patients, with over 75,000 asthma visits.  The LAC+USC Breathmobile program has been so successful that it has been replicated nationwide.  There are now eleven Breathmobiles throughout California serving nearly 300 elementary, middle, high schools and several comprehensive health clinics. The Breathmobile has also been replicated in 4 other states, including Illinois, Arizona, Maryland, and Alabama.