Focusing on the intersection of pediatric health and housing conditions law, the Healthy Together Medical-Legal Partnership for Improving Asthma in Southeast DC is a nationally-replicable model that leverages primary and emergency medical expertise, legal support, and funding from Managed Care Organizations, to find real solutions to asthma prevalence and morbidity in low-income neighborhoods of Southeast DC. The BUILD Health Challenge allows partners to target substandard housing conditions at the heart of asthma health disparities among children in DC’s lowest-income neighborhoods.



BUILD and its communities apply bold, upstream, integrated, local, and data-driven (BUILD) approaches to improve health in communities that are adversely affected by upstream factors.


This project shifts responsibility of remediating health-harming housing conditions back to the government agencies best-equipped to address them community-wide—reducing the burden for vulnerable families. This project gives data-driven insights and community support to change government policies and systems to tackle housing conditions as a public health issue. Long-term, housing conditions could become a key metric for public health in DC.


Asthma represents one of the most significant, preventable burdens on already vulnerable families and DC’s healthcare system. In working to address the housing conditions that exacerbate children’s asthma, this project focuses on a key intersection of the social, environmental, and economic factors at the root of the asthma crisis.


By placing community residents’ experience of healthcare, housing, and legal experiences at the center of this project, the service delivery system will realign to effectively serve people with limited resources and time.


The gaps in asthma education, patient advocacy training, and permanent solutions to health-harming housing conditions are already well-known. This project engages the community in identifying and piloting potential solutions to these gaps. Neighborhood resident and community leaders are engaged throughout the project through regular focus groups.


Patient Health Data is integrated into the legal services referral process to create a shared picture of the intersection of children’s asthma and health-harming housing conditions in Wards 7 and 8. Using this data, the collaborative supports the Department of Health in coordinating multiple government agencies to target housing conditions. Strong, existing relationships make this data-sharing possible.