181768 Asthma symptom survey of middle school students in a mid-sized CT city: A local health district and academic partnership

Wednesday, October 29, 2008: 11:00 AM

Paula Schenck, MPH , Center for Public Health and Health Policy, University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington, CT
John R. Balmes, MD , School of Public Health, University of California Berkeley, School of Medicine, University of California San Francisco, Berkeley, CA
Jennifer Mann, PhD, MPH , Environmental Public Health Tracking, School of Public Health, University of California Berkeley, Berkeley, CA
Judy Mayo, RN, MSN , Bristol Burlington Health District, Bristol, CT
Eileen Storey, MD, MPH , Division of Respiratory Disease Studies, CDC - NIOSH, Morgantown, WV
A health district in a mid-sized CT city and the University of Connecticut Health Center implemented an asthma survey of 695 7th graders in 5 small parochial and 3 large public middle schools. Asthma is a major health concern, and this survey was executed to aid the Health District in identifying children who are at respiratory health risk. The program is part of an initiative organized by the Berkeley Center for Environmental Public Health Tracking where the survey instrument was developed and implemented in two California communities. Reliable health surveillance information is critical in exploring environmental relationships with illness.

CT school nurses were trained and administered the survey in classes/assemblies. Seventy-one percent of those students who self-identified as having asthma diagnosis reported symptoms indicating possible need for improved control. Almost 5 percent of the students without a diagnosis indicated current symptoms meriting a medical evaluation.

School districts in CT have reported unidentified school nurse asthma information to the CT Departments of Public Health and Education, and local Health Districts since 2004. Nurse reports for this district were gathered before the survey program began. The comparison of the survey results with nurse reports for the same year indicates that the survey approach is an important complement to school nurse reports. Over twice as many students self reported an asthma diagnosis than were reported by school nurses. Survey approaches with parent notification and additional nurse training support local districts and improve the community's awareness of asthma and their ability to intervene.

Learning Objectives:
Articulate how to involve school nurses in implementing a asthma survey with middle school students Discuss approaches to asthma tracking on a school community basis Recognize the value of comprehensive school nurse and local health professional training on asthma and environmental risk factors

Keywords: Asthma, School-Based Programs

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I managed the project that is discussed
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.