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Long Island University’s Brooklyn Campus to Launch the Brenda Pillors Asthma Education Program

New program, which will provide free services for the Brooklyn community, was made possible by $355,000 appropriation secured by Congressman Ed Towns

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Brooklyn, N.Y. – Responding to the asthma crisis in Brooklyn, Long Island University’s Brooklyn Campus, with the support of Congressman Edolphus “Ed” Towns (D-NY), has created the Brenda Pillors Asthma Education Program. Named in memory of Congressman Towns’ former chief of staff, an asthma sufferer who died at age 52, the Program will deliver free counseling, education and screening services to schools, neighborhoods and even individual households in areas identified as having great need. On Thursday, September 4, 2008, at 9:30 a.m., Congressman Towns will join University leaders for a ceremony to officially dedicate the new program.

Brenda Pillors was a pioneer in health policy and legislation, whose tireless efforts impacted public health domestically and internationally, bringing to the forefront and helping to reduce health disparities for communities of color, women and children, as well as for those marginalized by society. She died of asthma-related causes at age 52 in 2005. The Brenda Pillors Asthma Education Program is named in her memory.“Asthma is a serious health condition that disproportionately impacts residents of Brooklyn," said Congressman Towns. “Long Island University has made an invaluable contribution to Brooklyn through its launch of the Brenda Pillors Asthma Education Program, and I am truly moved that it chose to honor my former chief of staff, Brenda Pillors, who passed away from asthma-related complications, by naming the program after her.”

David J. Steinberg, president of Long Island University, paid tribute to Congressman Towns, who played an instrumental role in securing $355,000 in funding for the new program. “All Brooklynites owe thanks to Congressman Towns for helping to establish the Brenda Pillors Asthma Education Program, which we hope can improve asthma control in Brooklyn,” Dr. Steinberg said. “His assistance has been vital especially for Brooklyn’s children, who suffer terrifying risks from asthma, with rates in some neighborhoods that are among the worst in New York City and nearly triple the national average.”

According to Brooklyn Campus Provost Gale Stevens Haynes, “This program is a three-pronged assault on asthma. It will promote self-management to avoid asthma symptoms, improve cultural sensitivity for health care providers who serve Brooklyn’s diverse communities and advance common-sense public policy. This is a strategy that will save lives.”

The Program’s namesake, Brenda Pillors, was a pioneer in health policy and legislation, whose tireless efforts impacted public health domestically and internationally, bringing to the forefront and helping to reduce health disparities for communities of color, women and children, as well as for those marginalized by society. Prior to becoming Towns’ chief of staff, she served as legislative director for Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm. During her career, she made significant contributions to the Ryan White CARE Act and the Student-Right-to-Know Act; led the founding of the Congressional Glaucoma Caucus Foundation; and played a pivotal role in securing federal dollars for education, health care and cultural initiatives for Brooklyn.

Congressmen James Clyburn, D-SC, and Edolphus Towns, D-NY, (center, l-r), joined University President David J. Steinberg and Provost Gale Stevens Haynes to unveil the Brenda Pillors Asthma Education Program at the Brooklyn Campus. The September 4 ceremony drew dozens of Ms. Pillors’ former co-workers and members of the Brooklyn Campus community. (Photo credit: Lem Peterkin)The Program’s full range of services should be available in October, noted Barry Eckert, dean of the School of Health Professions. “The time for effective asthma education is not when someone is struggling for breath in the emergency room,” he said. “Through our School of Health Professions, this program will help people take control of their asthma and live longer and healthier lives.”

The dedication ceremony will take place in the courtyard outside the Zeckendorf Health Sciences Center on the Brooklyn Campus, which is located near DeKalb and Flatbush avenues. In addition to Congressman Towns and University officials, a number of Brenda Pillors’ friends and colleagues are expected to be in attendance. A breakfast reception will follow in the first-floor lobby of the Health Sciences Center.

Posted 09/02/2008

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