In urban communities with high prevalence of childhood asthma, school-based educational programs may be the most appropriate approach to deliver interventions to improve asthma morbidity and asthma-related outcomes. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the implementation of Kickin' Asthma, a school-based asthma curriculum designed by health educators and local students, which teaches asthma physiology and asthma self-management techniques to middle and high school students in Oakland, CA.
Eligible students were identified through an in-class asthma case identification survey. Approximately 10-15 students identified as asthmatic were recruited for each series of the Kickin' Asthma intervention. The curriculum was delivered by an asthma nurse in a series of four 50-minute sessions. Students completed a baseline and a 3-month follow-up survey that compared symptom frequency, health care utilization, activity limitations, and medication use.
Of the 8488 students surveyed during the first 3 years of the intervention (2003-2006), 15.4% (n = 1309) were identified as asthmatic; approximately 76% of eligible students (n = 990) from 15 middle schools and 3 high schools participated in the program. Comparison of baseline to follow-up data indicated that students experienced significantly fewer days with activity limitations and significantly fewer nights of sleep disturbance after participation in the intervention. For health care utilization, students reported significantly less frequent emergency department visits or hospitalizations between the baseline and follow-up surveys.
A school-based asthma curriculum designed specifically for urban students has been shown to reduce symptoms, activity limitations, and health care utilization for intervention participants.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Asthma is a leading cause of hospitalizations, acute care utilization, health care costs, and school absences in children. Asthma morbidity is disproportionately high in inner city populations. In general, community-based public health interventions to reduce asthma morbidity have had modest success due in part to their limited reach and low participation by the targeted population. Adolescents have been especially difficult to reach. A coalition of community organizations developed a school-based, population-level system to identify, prioritize, and provide interventions for middle school children with asthma in a large urban school district in Oakland, CA. Nearly 92% (n = 8,326) of students in the targeted schools took an asthma case identification survey. Of those students who took the survey, 17.5% (n = 1,458) had active asthma and were eligible for services. Among those identified with active asthma, 83% (n = 1,217) voluntarily attended asthma self-management classes at school. The 4-week curriculum previously has been shown to significantly improve several indicators of asthma control in this population. Retention was high-72% of students who enrolled attended at least three of the four curriculum sessions. Many higher-risk students were subsequently referred to and enrolled in off-site asthma services. Large school districts with incomplete or inadequate health records, high asthma prevalence, and internal or external services available for students with asthma may benefit from a similar model. A system such as the one described may be an effective public health strategy for school districts, health departments, and community coalitions addressing asthma or other conditions with high childhood prevalence.
Journal of Urban Health 06/2008; 85(3):361-74. DOI:10.1007/s11524-008-9266-y · 1.90 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Asthma continues to disproportionately affect minority and low-income groups, with African American and Latino children who live in low-socioeconomic-status urban environments experiencing higher asthma morbidity and mortality than white children. This uneven burden in asthma morbidity has been ever increasing despite medical advancement. Many factors have contributed to these disparities in the areas of health care inequities, which result in inadequate treatment; poor housing, which leads to increased exposure to asthma allergens; and social and psychosocial stressors, which are often unappreciated. Interventions to reduce individual areas of disparities have had varying successes. Because asthma is a complex disease that affects millions of persons, multifaceted comprehensive interventions that combine all evidence-based successful strategies are essential to finally closing the gap in asthma morbidity.
The Journal of allergy and clinical immunology 07/2009; 123(6):1199-206; quiz 1207-8. DOI:10.1016/j.jaci.2009.04.030 · 11.48 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Despite overall improvements in asthma care through an increasing evidence base, disparities in outcomes of children of ethnic minorities and low socioeconomic status are well documented across healthcare systems. New interventions to reduce gaps in outcomes among these children are continually being evaluated. This article reviews the most relevant and influential recent studies.
A number of interventions aimed at vulnerable children with asthma have been successful. Most of these include a component of education and self-management. There is some evidence that culturally competent care produces improved outcomes, whereas stronger evidence exists for multifaceted programs and community health workers providing home visits for education and environmental allergen reduction. Targeting children and families through school-based programs may be an effective outreach strategy. Use of novel technologies such as educational messages on MP3 players shows promise in reaching at-risk adolescents.
There are promising strategies proven to significantly decrease disparities in asthma among vulnerable children. Further research must be performed to elucidate the interventions that produce the greatest impact on asthma-related outcomes while being feasible, sustainable, and cost-effective.
Current opinion in pediatrics 10/2009; 21(6):783-8. DOI:10.1097/MOP.0b013e328332537d · 2.53 Impact Factor
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