Champion Community Asthma Coalitions

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Champion Community Asthma Coalitions

While asthma affects people of all colors and creeds, its burden falls heaviest on the shoulders of the poor and minorities.

Sharlene 2 These populations experience significantly high rates of fatalities, hospital admissions and emergency room visits, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

As the asthma problem spreads from doorstep to doorstep, researchers are left hard-pressed to explain the phenomenon.

But many of these communities don’t have time to wait for answers. Instead, they’re combating asthma on their home turf by forming local coalitions. These partnerships align public, private and nonprofit entities so they can work together to reduce asthma morbidity and mortality. They have the advantage of intimately knowing the region’s culture and concerns.

For example, the Chicago Asthma Consortium, launched in 1995, has promoted awareness of the disease through peer networking. Trained educators develop a rapport with inner-city families, conduct home assessments, implement intervention strategies and perform follow-up visits. These efforts reduced hospitalizations and emergency department visits by 50 percent.

As of 1998, the National Asthma Education and Prevention Program (NAEPP) identified 44 community asthma coalitions throughout the country. Most of them are in their infancy, staffed by dedicated volunteers. And they could use your guidance.

By sharing your expertise, you can keep the coalitions up-to-date on the most effective asthma management programs. Contact the NAEPP’s Asthma Coalition Exchange at

Champion the coalitions’ work, and help these communities help themselves.

Sharlene Sephton


Editor’s Notes:

* In the December issue, the phone number for the for the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation was incorrect. It is (608) 831-6989.

* The Sleep Notes headline in the December issue should have read, “OSA/Hypopnea Syndrome: Understanding Cognitive Impairment and Daytime Performance.”