242740 Burden of Asthma on California Schools: Statewide and Local Attendance and Financial Losses and Academic Achievement Analysis

Monday, October 31, 2011: 8:30 AM

Mary Kreger, Dr PH , Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies, UCSF, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA
Roxanna Guide, MPH , Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA
Mira Bullen, BA , Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA
Marion Standish, JDL , Greater Bay Area Regional Office, The California Endowment, Oakland, CA
Claire Brindis, DrPH , Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA
Katherine Sargent, BA , Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA
Background/Purpose: This paper presents data on the burden of asthma on school districts in California. The burden is defined as student absences, achievement, and financial losses. Asthma is an epidemic and a source of health inequities in California with the prevalence by youth ethnic groups ranging from 16% to 28%. Given state and local budget deficits, it is imperative to document unnecessary educational and fiscal losses, and to design policies to reduce these losses.

Significance/Methodology: Given the absence of a perfect system to track asthma absences, a method of employing existing datasets is reviewed comparing prevalence across major national and state-level surveys. These data are employed to estimate prevalence, absences, and lost revenues across school districts. Data are presented for the 20 largest and five smaller districts. A methodology for estimating absences and lost revenues is presented.

Results and Conclusion: Employing this methodology, statewide, 14% of students with asthma account for over 1.4 million days of school absence and over $43 million dollars in lost revenues to districts. Using an ecological analysis at the school level, for both Middle and High Schools, Asthma diagnosis rate, poverty, and ethnicity account for 69% (Middle Schools) and 35% (High Schools) of the variability in school-level academic scores. Asthma diagnosis, poverty, and ethnicity are all statistically significant. These data underline the importance of implementing school policies and programs to ameliorate the effects of asthma on those populations most severely affected. Model programs are reviewed that have been successful in reducing asthma exacerbations.

Learning Areas:
Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Advocacy for health and health education
Chronic disease management and prevention
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
1. Discuss the challenges of tracking asthma absences 2. Describe the correlation of absences and academic achievement 3. Explanin the correlation of abscences and lost revenue 4. Describe model programs to reduce asthma exacerbations

Keywords: School Health, Asthma

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present because I work on policy projects related to asthma, education, and systems change and have co-written multiple papers and reports on these subjects.
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.