The 2020 My LA2050 Grants Challenge has started!

Learn more

This page is an archive of the 2018 challenge.




Non-profit organization

SmartAirLA deploys “Smart” Internet of Things (IoT) technologies to empower communities to reduce the effects and prevalence of asthma in Los Angeles County

What does your organization do?

SmartAirLA deploys smart inhalers to high-risk asthmatic children in underserved communities in Los Angeles County. Smart inhalers monitor medication use, time and location of the breathing problems.

Please describe the activation your organization seeks to launch.

Our targeted outcome is to improve health equity of underserved children. SmartAirLA will establish a Citizen Science Data Repository that includes a real-time dashboard that tracks the location, frequency, and environmental conditions of the asthma attacks. This will:

  • enable undeserved asthmatic children to control and improve their condition.

  • equip government agencies and community organizations with actionable data to implement targeted mitigations that reduce the risks of asthma.

Which of the live metrics will your activation impact?​

  • Exposure to air toxins
  • Prevalence of adverse childhood experiences
  • Residents receiving coordinated healthcare services

Will your proposal impact any other LA2050 goal categories?

  • LA is the best place to LEARN
  • LA is the best place to CREATE
  • LA is the best place to PLAY
  • LA is the healthiest place to CONNECT

In what areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

  • Central LA
  • East LA
  • San Gabriel Valley
  • San Fernando Valley
  • South LA
  • Westside
  • South Bay
  • Antelope Valley
  • County of Los Angeles
  • City of Los Angeles

How will your activation mobilize Angelenos?

  • Advocate for policy
  • Digital organizing or activism
  • Trainings and/or in-person engagements
  • Create new tools or technologies for greater civic/political engagement
  • Encourage businesses to change practices
  • Increase participation in political processes
  • Influence individual behavior

Describe in greater detail how your activation will make LA the best place to live?

SmartAirLA seeks to:

  • Improve asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) outcomes among residents by providing actionable information to support self management

  • Identify hotspots of respiratory disease in the community, better understand how environmental drivers are influencing these patterns.

SmartAirLA is modeled after Air Louisville, in which the city of Louisville and a coalition of private, community health, and philanthropic organizations provided more than 1,100 smart inhalers to asthma sufferers.

Within 12 months of the smart inhaler deployment, AIR Louisville participants reported:

  • Average of 82% reduction in asthma rescue inhaler use

  • Doubled their symptom-free days

  • Better sleep, with an average of 19% increase in symptom-free nights

  • 29% of uncontrolled participants gained control of their asthma

The data collected by the smart inhalers empowered Louisville City to:

  • Identify buffer zones around pollution emitters and set pollution limits

  • Build greenbelts to reduce particulate matter pollution by 60% in high asthmatic neighborhoods

  • Reroute freight routes from high asthmatic neighborhoods

To achieve our outcomes, SmartAirLA will deploy smart inhalers through partnerships with local environmental health organizations and health care providers to educate patients on the health benefits of the smart inhalers.

SmartAirLA will design and execute a pilot project to deploy the smart inhalers to underserved asthmatic children (age 5 to 17) in the Wilmington neighborhood of Los Angeles County.

The targeted outcomes from the SmartAirLA Pilot include:

  • Improve quality outcomes for patients

  • Reduce health care costs

  • Identify potential hotspot locations where increased asthmatic events may occur

  • Provide the collected data to public and nongovernment organizations to implement preventive actions.

How will your activation engage Angelenos to make LA the best place to live

SmartAirLA seeks to be a sustainable smart Intenet of Things (IoT) platform that improves health equity for underserved communities by focusing on preventive care and wellness. To achieve this, SmartAirLA:

  • Brings together technology, environment, health, and community experts from the academic, private, and public sectors to develop and implement innovative approaches.

  • Engages stakeholders early in the development process to ensure feedback and buy-in. SmartAirLA is guided by an Advisory Committee of our partners and will establish Health Care, Data and Pilot Community Working Groups to provide strategic direction to achieve our pilot project objectives.

  • “Learns by doing” by designing the pilot scope through the “Minimum Viable Product” approach. The pilot is focused within the catchment area to achieve two outcomes: 1) measure health care benefits; and 2) identify environmental factors that cause asthma. These learnings will be applied to scale-up deployment.

The SmartAirLA data repository will serve as the connective tissue between asthma patients, health care providers, community organizations, and government agencies to adopt preventive measures to reduce exposure risks to asthma incidence and exacerbation in community populations.

Key features of the SmartAirLA Data Repository are:

  • Open platform to maximize outcomes

  • Targeted to stakeholders who take action

  • User-Centric

Please explain how you will define and measure success for your activation.​

SmartAirLA will measure success based on whether the community we serve has ownership in our work. SmartAirLA believes that the successful deployment of the smart inhalers requires community stakeholders, such as community leaders, parents, and teachers, to actively contribute to the design and execution of the smart inhaler deployment. By mobilizing community support, SmartAirLA can effectively deploy the smart inhalers to the asthmatic children with the most need. Community ownership will be measured by the frequency and number of community members participating in SmartAirLA events and the actions taken by SmartAirLA based on the recommendations of the Pilot Advisory Group.

SmartAirLA’s has already gained enthusiastic stakeholder support.

  • Wilmington community representatives have recommended three schools as catchment areas and that the pilot initiation begins as soon as possible.

  • City of Los Angeles Information Technology Agency has coordinated intra-agency cooperation to use the SmartAirLA data to identify measures to reduce asthma risk exposure.

  • Los Angeles County Department of Public Health’s Chief Science Officer, Director of the Division of Assessment, Planning, and Quality and Director of the Maternal, Child, and Adolescent Health Division, will mobilize health care providers to participate in the pilot.

Where do you hope this activation or your organization will be in five years?

SmartAirLA’s vision is to become the smart IoT technology platform to improve health equity for underserved communities. In five years, our objective is to deploy 5,000 smart inhalers to underserved asthmatic children throughout Los Angeles County through multiple partnerships with community and health care organizations. This deployment will be financially sustainable through health care shared savings from the significant decrease in asthma hospitalizations (target of 50% reductions) as a result of improved patient care and reduction of asthma risks exposure.

Based on the data collected by the smart inhalers, the SmartAirLA Citizen Science Data Repository provides real-time forecasts of asthma hotspots throughout Los Angeles county through interactive social media platforms. As a result,

  • Government agencies take policy and enforcement actions to reduce the exposure risks of asthma. For example, Los Angeles regional air quality agencies utilize the SmartAirLA asthma hotspots data to assess potential pollution hotspots and identify possible locations for closer inspection, monitoring, and mitigation action; the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health could fine-tune/re-focus elements of its health outreach and education programs in identified areas.

  • Community organizations that advocate initiatives reduce the exposure risks that could lead to asthma events, including education campaigns among community residents, preferential walking or exercise routes to reduce exposure risks in hotspot areas, or local campaigns for greenspace in the areas of identified hotspots.

  • Local health organizations work with asthma patients in the identified areas to integrate possible personal protection and avoidance patterns of behavior to reduce the likelihood of triggering events, through the referral of patients to community-specific education programs that help manage asthma in the local neighborhood.

  • Businesses use the asthmatic hotspot data to target the environmental mitigation measures. For example, freight companies from the Port of Los Angeles combine the asthmatic hotspot data with WAZE mapping data to time and reroute deliveries from the high risks asthmatic neighborhoods or use electric vehicles when traveling in those areas. Utilities and businesses use the data to deploy clean energy technologies, such as solar and wind energy to reduce air pollution emissions.