The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey and Boys & Girls Clubs in New Jersey Join Forces to Help Children with Asthma

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The Horizon Foundation of New Jersey has created a state-wide program, BEAM, to improve awareness, education and treatment of asthma.

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BEAM is consistent with the mission of the Foundation to work closely with community organizations to help New Jerseyans make informed decisions about their health and lead healthier, more fulfilling lives.

With an estimated 300,000 New Jersey children diagnosed with asthma and subject to its potentially dangerous health effects, the Horizon Foundation of New Jersey has created a state-wide program – BEAM (Breathe Easier with Asthma Management) – to improve awareness, education and treatment of asthma. The program is being funded through a $500,000 foundation grant to the Boys & Girls Clubs in New Jersey (BGCNJ), which is implementing BEAM throughout the state.

“While asthma cannot be cured, asthma attacks can be prevented, so young people with this condition, with the proper training and knowledge, can take control of their health,” said Robert A. Marino, Chairman and CEO of Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey and Chairman of the Horizon Foundation for New Jersey. “BEAM is consistent with the mission of the Foundation to work closely with community organizations to help New Jerseyans make informed decisions about their health and lead healthier, more fulfilling lives.”

Asthma is a disorder that causes the airways of the lungs to swell and narrow, leading to wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness and coughing. Approximately one in eight New Jersey adults, and one in seven children, have been diagnosed with asthma at some point in their lives. BEAM -- through the reach and resources of the Boys & Girls Clubs in New Jersey -- will educate parents and caregivers on how to better understand, manage and treat its symptoms, and to managed and prevent attacks.

BEAM is serving 2,500 children ages 5-18, at 12 BCGNJ sites that are located in nine New Jersey counties where asthma is prevalent. BGCNJ staff, trained by the American Lung Association in New Jersey, oversee the day to day implementation of the program, which includes the following five key components:

  • Screening -- Asthma screening through questionnaire
  • Referral – Parents/guardians provided with referral information for further screening or treatment
  • Education -- Age-appropriate, interactive curricula about asthma and its management
  • Awareness – Community forums, such as parent nights and media activities that promote disease understanding and management
  • Evaluation – BEAM’s effectiveness and impact on children and families is being evaluated, with results to serve as a basis for program improvement and expansion to additional counties

Representatives from Horizon, the BGCNJ, the American Lung Association in New Jersey, the New Jersey Department of Health, and the New Jersey Legislature formally launched the BEAM program today during a special ceremony held at Arm & Hammer Park, the baseball home of the Trenton Thunder.

“Asthma attacks can be managed safely – before their symptoms become so acute that they require a visit or admission to the hospital,” said Jonathan R. Pearson, Executive Director of the Horizon Foundation for New Jersey. “BEAM’s goal is to combat the effects of asthma in New Jersey through education and awareness among young people who have the condition now or may be at risk of becoming asthmatic in the future.”

“Through our statewide alliance and dedicated staff, the Boys & Girls Clubs in New Jersey are uniquely positioned to help parents and caregivers improve the health and welfare of young people throughout our state,” said Nuno M. Francisco, President, Board of Trustees, Boys & Girls Clubs in New Jersey. “BEAM is integral to our mission of helping youths overcome obstacles to reach their full potential.”

“By bringing education and treatment resources to at-risk children and families, BEAM has great potential to help New Jersey residents prevent and manage asthma attacks,” said Department of Health Deputy Commissioner Dr. Arturo Brito. “I commend the Horizon Foundation and the Boys & Girls Clubs in New Jersey for their collaboration to help improve public awareness and health around asthma.”

The nine counties in which BEAM is being implemented are: Camden, Cumberland, Essex, Gloucester, Hudson, Mercer, Middlesex, Passaic and Union.

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About the Foundation:
The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey is committed to working alongside those who can help us improve our neighbors’ health, inform their health decisions and inspire them to lead healthier, more fulfilling lives. The Foundation’s new funding pillars are Caring, Connecting and Creating. Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey is the sole member of The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey, both of which are independent licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. For more information please visit http://www.Horizonblue.com/Foundation

About the Boys & Girls Clubs in New Jersey:
Boys & Girls Clubs in New Jersey (BGCNJ) is a network of 23 local Clubs serving more than 73,000 youth each year. For more than 150 years, Boys & Girls Clubs across New Jersey have been in the forefront of youth development, working with young people from disadvantaged economic, social, and family circumstances. The Boys & Girls Club mission is to enable all children and youth, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens.

About the American Lung Association:
The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease, through research, education and advocacy. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to improve the air we breathe; to reduce the burden of lung disease on individuals and their families; and to eliminate tobacco use and tobacco-related diseases. For more information about the American Lung Association, a holder of the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Guide Seal, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit: Lung.org.

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Thomas Vincz
Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey
973-466-6625
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