Meet Mary Frazier, Director of Northern California Breathmobile

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Project Director Northern California Breathmobile®

Years: Prescott Joseph Center, 2000; BreathMobile®, 2009-present

Educational: BSN and Masters in Community Health Nursing, Holy Names University, Oakland

What is the Breathmobile®?

The BreathMobile® is a mobile asthma clinic – part of the Prescott Joseph Center for Community Enhancement. We visit East Bay public schools, including in Richmond and North Richmond, serving patients from 3 months to 18 years. We take vital signs and perform pulmonary function testing, as well as provide asthma education. Our Physicians or Nurse Practitioners on board can also prescribe medication as needed.

How did you get involved with the BreathMobile®?

When I was teaching students about asthma at schools in West Oakland, I realized that they seemed to be falling behind. Many students said being sick made it difficult for them to keep up with their studies. These anecdotes fueled my passion to find a way to bring asthma treatment to underserved communities. I believe education is the only way out of poverty, and the BreathMobile® works to break that cycle of absenteeism.

Why is the BreathMobile® so important to this area?

Asthma affects roughly 20% of the children in the areas we serve. It is often inherited and can be triggered by a large variety of factors, including pet dander, dust, mold, allergens and tobacco smoke. Our mission is to keep kids in school and out of the emergency room. By having a mobile clinic, we can go right to the kids, decreasing the amount of time that they are out of school for medical appointments or illness.

Tell us about some of the health issues you see in the community?

The health challenges stem from a variety of social, economic and environmental issues, including poor diet and nutrition, poor housing conditions, lack of trust in quality health care and emissions from inefficient cars and trucks. Onboard the BreathMobile®, we take time helping families understand what is going on with their child and how to properly take medications. Our driver is also bilingual in Spanish, often translating important information for us – we have access to other languages, too.

Tell us about the Family Sustainability Project?

The Family Sustainability Project (FSP) is a partnership between the Prescott Joseph Center and the Community Energy Services Corporation (CESC) to address issues of chronic unemployment, economic hardship around housing and access to quality healthcare. FSP brings free medical care and home remediation services into the community and works to hire local graduates as interns. The program is funded by a generous grant from Chevron.

What has it been like to have Chevron as a corporate sponsor?

Extremely generous. Chevron is deeply involved in helping us carry out our mission in Richmond and North Richmond. Their support has allowed us to come to community events and share information about asthma, as well as hold classes to teach the parents and staff at the schools we serve, like Verde Elementary, about asthma. Chevron’s own Andrea Bailey has been instrumental in helping us make connections with students from the Richmond area to take advantage of FSP internships.

To find out more or see if the BreathMobile® is in your neighborhood, visit: www.ncabreathmobile.org or call 510-763-1880.

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