May is Asthma Awareness Month!

View the Governor's official proclamation here​ and follow @MDHealthDept on twitter​ and Facebook ​for more information, data, and tips on asthma!

​The 2023 Maryland Asthma Summit will be held May 18th, 2023 at the Howard County Health Department​ (Columbia, MD).  The 6th Annual Maryland Asthma Summit is designed to bring together state and local stakeholders in the State of Maryland in asthma care and management. Leaders in the asthma field will offer attendees a chance to discuss and learn about best practices, health equity, innovative research and interventions, and related policies as well as have a space for open dialogue in the effort to form and sustain partnerships to address the burden of asthma and asthma disparities. For more information and to register, visit the Green & Healthy Homes Initiative's website:

Wh​at is Asthma?

Asthma is a chronic lung disease that causes repeated episodes of chest tightness, wheezing, cough, and shortness of breath.  It can be life threatening. 

Asthma attacks can be triggered by air pollution, allergens (pet dander, pests, mold), tobacco smoke, exercise, and infections. Learn more about asthma triggers in home environments.  

 Asthma Data
  • 7.6% of children (2018) and 8.9% of adults (2020) in Maryland  have asthma.
  • In 2020, there were 16,615 asthma-related emergency department visits in Maryland (age-adjusted rate of 27.5 per 10,000 residents) and 1,478 asthma-related hospitalizations (age-adjusted rate of 2.4 per 10,000 residents). This is a 44% decline in ED visits and 53% decline in hospitalizations from 2018, which is likely a result of COVID-19’s impact on health care utilization.
  • Black children in Maryland have almost five times the rate of asthma-related emergency department visits as White children.​
  • In 2020, health care costs for asthma-related emergency departments totalled $34 million, and asthma-related hospitalizations cost an additional $15.5 million, totalling totalling $49.5 million.

Asthma emergency department visits (per 1,000 population) for children aged 2-17 years by race and ethnicity (NH = Non Hispanic; Source: HSCRC)







All Races







White NH







Black NH














Asian NH







Other NH







Rates of emergency department visits (per 1,000 population) for children aged 2 - 17 years by jurisdiction, 2016 - 2020 (source: HSCRC).

For more information, the Maryland Asthma Control Program publishes an annual report on asthma.

What can you do?
  • Make sure your child is being treated with their inhaler properly.
  • Check the air quality so that you can avoid exposure to ozone, particulate matter, and other asthma triggers during bad air quality days.
  • Develop an Asthma Action Plan, which is a communication tool and a key component of a comprehensive education program for asthma management. The Asthma Action Plan includes information related to treatment schedule and patient self-management.​
  • Prepare for asthma care during an emergency​​​​.
  • Join the MDH Asthma Community of Practice​​

What is Maryland Doing to Improve Asthma Outcomes? 

Statewide Integrated Health Improvement Strategy

The Statewide Integrated Health Improvement Strategy (SIHIS) aligns statewide efforts across three domains that are interrelated and, if addressed successfully, have the potential to make significant improvement in not just Maryland’s healthcare system, but in the health outcomes of Marylanders. One of the goals of SIHIS is to decrease asthma-related emergency department visit rates for all children aged 2-17 by 42%, and for Black children by 50%.​ Read more about SIHIS here.

Asthma emergency department visit projections and rates for ages 2-17 years old

Asthma Comm​unity of Practice

MDH has formed an Asthma Community of Practice with individuals representing health care systems, primary care providers, academia, families, and other stakeholders. If you are interested in joining this Community of Practice, please email Esmeralda Limon, SIHIS Coordinator at 

Vision: That all people and families living with asthma receive the best possible care so that asthma does not affect their quality of life.

Mission: Improve practice through information and resource sharing

1) Serve as a forum to exchange best practices and information regarding asthma treatment management and prevention 
2) Improve collaboration among stakeholders involved in asthma care 
3) Ensure that Marylanders with asthma get the best possible care and access to prevention services 

The following are the dates and times for Asthma CoP Meetings for 2023: 

Thursday, June 8, 2023 at 9:30 -11:00 a.m.
Thursday, November 16, 2023 at 9:00 -10:00 a.m.

Home Visit​ing and Lead Abatement Programs for Families

Maryland has two new programs for families with a child with asthma:

The Healthy Homes for Healthy Kids Program removes lead hazards and asthma triggers​ from the home at no cost.

The Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention and Environmental Case Management Program provies in-home  services to reduce exposures to lead and to asthma triggers.

Learn more about these programs, including eligibility criteria and availability in your jurisdiction.

Program 1_Healthy Homes for Healthy Kids_3.5.21_final_Page_1.pngP2 UPDATED Healthy Homes Flyer _3.5.21_final.png

Maryland Asthma Control Program

​The Maryland Asthma Control Program uses surveillance data from a number of sources to establish priorities for the Maryland Asthma Plan. The Maryland Asthma Control Program publishes an annual report on asthma, as well as a series of data briefs on specific topics:

Asthma Frien​dly Schools Program

A safe and supportive learning environment benefits students as well as educators.  In an effort to promote healthy schools for children and staff with asthma, the Maryland Department of Health has created the Asthma Friendly School program to encourage and recognize Maryland schools that create and sustain safe, supportive, and asthma-friendly environments.  

An asthma friendly school supports the health and academic success of students through maximizing asthma management, reducing environmental asthma triggers in the school environment, and building asthma education and awareness programs for students and staff.  Chances for success are better when the entire school community takes part – school health services program staff, school administrators and staff, community health care providers along with the students and parents/guardians.  Here is your chance to support students with asthma! 

The Asthma Friendly School application can be found here​.

Asthma Frien​dly Child Care Program

Children often spend many hours of their day at child care, either in a center or family home. To address the indoor and outdoor child care environment and educate child care providers on the burden of asthma, the Maryland Department of Health has created the Asthma Friendly Child Care program.  The goal of the program is to support the health and early learning of young children through providing excellent asthma management, reducing environmental asthma triggers, and providing asthma education and awareness programs for children in care.

Directions on how to apply to become an Asthma Friendly Child Care, can be found here​.

The application​ for the Asthma Friendly Child Care program is made up of two modules. Both modules must be filled out and submitted to ensure completion of application.

The Environmental Module can be found he​re.

The Management Module can be found here​.​​



Reducing asthma-related emergency department visits is a key goal of the Statewide Integrated Health Imrovement Strategy. Read more​.

Health Care Providers:  CRISP is now sending Care Alerts to your patient's portal if they may qualify for the Asthma Home Visiting Program in local health departments.  Learn more!