Roles of the State Asthma Program in Implementing Multicomponent, School-Based Asthma Interventions

Environmental Health Scientist, (), ORISE/CDC Research Program, Air Pollution and Respiratory Health Branch, National Center for Environmental Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 4770 Buford Hwy, Mailstop F60, Atlanta, GA 30341.
Journal of School Health (Impact Factor: 1.43). 12/2013; 83(12):833-841. DOI: 10.1111/josh.12101
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Asthma is a leading chronic childhood disease in the United States and a major contributor to school absenteeism. Evidence suggests that multicomponent, school-based asthma interventions are a strategic way to address asthma among school-aged children. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) encourages the 36 health departments (34 states, District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico) in the National Asthma Control Program (NACP) to implement multicomponent, school-based asthma interventions on a larger scale.
To gain a better understanding of replicable best practices for state-coordinated asthma interventions in schools, an NACP evaluation team conducted evaluability assessments of promising interventions run by state asthma programs in Louisiana, Indiana, and Utah.
The team found that state asthma programs play a critical role in implementing school-based asthma interventions due to their ability to (1) use statewide surveillance data to identify asthma trends and address disparities; (2) facilitate connections between schools, school systems, and school-related community stakeholders; (3) form state-level connections; (4) translate policies into action; (5) provide resources and public health practice information to schools and school systems; (6) monitor and evaluate implementation.
This article presents evaluability assessment findings and illustrates state roles using examples from the 3 participating state asthma programs.

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    ABSTRACT: School-based services to improve asthma management need to be accompanied by public policies that can help sustain services, scale effective interventions, create greater equity across schools, and improve outcomes for children. Several national organizations, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, have recommended specific public policies the adoption of which in school settings can improve asthma outcomes for children. Although many states and school districts have adopted some of these policies, adoption is not universal, and implementation is not always successful, leaving inequities in children's access to asthma services and supports. These issues can be addressed by changing public policy. Policy change is a complex process, but it is one that will benefit from greater involvement by asthma experts, including the researchers who generate the knowledge base on what services, supports, and policies have the best outcomes for children. Asthma experts can participate in the policy process by helping to build awareness of the need for school-based asthma policy, estimating the costs associated with policy options and with inaction, advocating for the selection of specific policies, assisting in implementation (including providing feedback), conducting the research that can evaluate the effectiveness of implementation, and ultimately providing information back into the policy process to allow for improvements to the policies. Copyright © 2014 American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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