Profiles of Innovative State Programs: Rhode Island

Rhode Island Department of Health,

Asthma Control Program

Breathe Easy at Home Program


The Rhode Island Department of Health has developed a Breathe Easy at Home project to help health care providers refer their asthma patients to local housing officials. The project, based on a model established in Boston, Massachusetts, aims to improve patients’ health by making sure rental housing inspections are carried out quickly if there are asthma triggers and other substandard conditions in the home. In Rhode Island, the voluntary program connects health care providers and housing officials in the high-poverty, urban cities of Providence, Pawtucket, Central Falls, and Woonsocket, through a web-based referral system. The Department of Health manages the program, and cases remain open from the time a referral is made until the housing code violations have been corrected.

Why is this Program Important?

Across the U.S. there are over 6 million children and over 18 million adults with asthma. People with asthma are especially vulnerable to the harmful effects of indoor environmental conditions such as secondhand smoke, pest infestation, and mold/dampness. For families living in rental dwellings, it can be particularly challenging to make sure action is taken promptly and effectively to prevent or eliminate asthma triggers. Breathe Easy at Home works to improve the health of children with asthma by addressing environmental conditions in their rental homes, including pests, moisture, and ventilation. The program also aims to improve the quality of asthma care by providing opportunities for health care providers to impact the environment in which their patients live.

What Materials and Resources Have Been Developed for the Program?

The Rhode Island Breathe Easy at Home program has developed a variety of educational materials, including a screening tool for health care providers, a pamphlet about the program for parents of children with asthma, and fact sheets for landlords and tenants on how to reduce common asthma triggers.

How Can You Learn More?

Visit the Rhode Island Breathe Easy at Home web page for background on the program and links to educational materials.

Contact the agency via email ( or call the Health Information Line at 401-222-5960 / RI Relay 711.