Collaborative Cottage Grove aims to create a replicable model to address childhood asthma exacerbated by unhealthy environmental and housing conditions. A primary goal is to reduce the prevalence of asthma attacks (resulting in hospital visits) among children caused by unhealthy housing. This will be achieved by working with community members, policy makers, and organizational partners to advocate for city level policy changes to effectively combat poor housing conditions. We will improve the school attendance and performance of children living in an environment that exacerbates asthma by working with the school system in the identified zip codes on interventions that address home environments with the highest risk using education, home assessment and remediation of asthma triggers.


By implementing systems changes between medical providers, housing specialists, code enforcement inspectors, and public health nurses, we are creating collaborative protocols that permit school nurses to shift case management of students to include home assessment referral and electronic notification of hospital visits. Code enforcement inspectors are assigned geographic districts and attend community meetings to build relationships with neighborhood groups and monitor property owners more closely.


We will change the community environment that allows unhealthy environmental conditions to exist by leveraging collaborative strategies across sectors to tackle root causes through systems and policy change with advocacy, education, and remediation. Upstream strategies include advocacy for assertive enforcement of minimum housing safety standards and the creation of asthma-safe home pledge to be adopted by tenants, property owners, neighborhoods, and City Council.


We are aligning the practices of the health system, city code enforcement, school system, public health nurses, neighborhood resident leaders, housing advocates and families of children with asthma. School nurses, the hospital physician liaison, the code enforcement manager, the community leader, the healthy homes specialist, the community organizer, and the academic researcher work together to turn questions into action and measure the outcomes.


Our approach is local, with community leaders in three three target zip codes forming a leadership council to assure that planning and implementation of strategies is tailored to the culture, traditions, assets, and challenges of each community. Coordination and community engagement will continue to build the capacity of neighborhoods to organize and advocate with organization partners, code enforcement and property owners to ensure asthma-safe homes and promote the residents’ goals for healthy communities.


Data points include hospital visits, school absences/performance, housing units with environmental risks, and number of home remediations. Cone Health has developed new protocols to share de-identified data with public health and research institutions. The city’s outdated code enforcement database is being replaced for easy public access. The electronic notification when a student goes into the hospital will be expanded for school nurses and include the students’ primary care providers.