The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute is targeting communities with high death rates associated with asthma in its latest attempt to find ways to combat the burgeoning lung disease. According to the Institute’s director, Dr Claude Lenfant, “We now know enough about asthma so that no one should die from it any more. Yet people are still dying from asthma. Why? Because the information about how best to treat and control it is not being widely used. By forging partnerships with coalitions in high-risk communities, we can bring this information directly to the people who need it most.”
The attempt to take asthma education into minority and low-income communities is part of a national plan to reduce the disparate health problems suffered by those groups when compared with the rest of the population. Asthma causes a disproportionately high rate of deaths among members of minority populations, particularly blacks and Hispanics. People with asthma-related conditions crowd emergency departments and fill hospital beds, and asthma is a leading cause of school absenteeism. The cost of asthma in the United States in 1998 was estimated at $11.3 billion.
Those who received the recent round of grants to fight the problem follow.
Arkansas Asthma Coalition/Arkansas Children’s Hospital Research Institute, Little Rock, Ark. They target a rural population of low-income children with persistent asthma.
Central California Asthma Project/San Joaquin Valley Health Consortium, Fresno, Calif. This program is designed to increase asthma awareness and improve asthma care for low-income, rural communities with large populations of Hispanics and Southeast Asians.
Chicago Asthma Consortium, Chicago, Ill. This group targets 3 communities with large black populations to develop a “community activation” program designed to mobilize community leadership for policy changes and asthma awareness activities.
Columbia University Asthma Coalition/Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, NY. This program seeks to reduce the overuse of emergency department services by asthma patients by creating a long-term, culturally appropriate asthma-management system in a predominantly Hispanic and non-English-speaking neighborhood in New York City.
Asthma Community Development Coalition/Health and Hospital Corporation of Marion County, Indianapolis, Ind. They plan to provide comprehensive asthma education to school staff and students in Indianapolis’ elementary and middle schools and Head Start programs in this low-income, predominantly African American community.
Southeast Regional Clinicians’ Network/Morehouse School of Medicine, Atlanta, Ga. This group seeks to provide physician education that combines techniques for changing clinical practice behaviors, applying patient-centered education approaches, and making office systems changes for primary care physicians and their staff in 16 federally funded community health and migrant health centers in 8 southeastern states to improve asthma care delivery to their low-income, minority population.
Tacoma-Pierce County Asthma Prevention Partnership, Tacoma, Wash. This group aims to reduce asthma emergency room and unscheduled office visits in this low-income, ethnically diverse community by using outreach workers and volunteers to provide education and action related to reducing environmental triggers of asthma in the home, extending educational opportunities, and promoting the use of personalized asthma management plans.
- Copyright © 2000 by American Heart Association