Online Program

Implementation of evidence-based practices to improve asthma in an urban school system

Monday, November 4, 2013

Jamie Klingensmith, RD, LDN, School of Public Health and Health Sciences, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA
Kathleen Szegda, MPH, MS, Partners for a Healthier Community, Inc, Springfield, MA
Matthew Sadof, MD, Pediatrics, Baystate Children's Hospital Tufts University School of Medicine, Springfield, MA
Background: Springfield, MA is an urban center with 27.6% of the population below the poverty level. The Springfield Public Schools (SPS) nursing department reports a student asthma prevalence of 20%, which is almost double the statewide prevalence in Massachusetts. Children in Springfield also experience marked racial/ethnic asthma disparities, with hospitalization rates among Hispanic children almost 4 ½ times higher, and Black children almost double the asthma hospitalization rates of White children. The Pioneer Valley Asthma Coalition's work to improve asthma in the Springfield Public Schools has become a regional model to address high prevalence, poor symptom management and disparities in care. Purpose: This work is a case study that describes health education, promotion and systems change work to reduce asthma disparities through asthma management, asthma education and improved indoor air quality in an urban school district. Findings: Key elements of these successes include: 1. Multi-pronged approach to reduce asthma disparities; focused on asthma education, asthma management and indoor air quality. 2. Multi-sector collaboration between local schools, community organizations and health departments to leverage resources and identify best practices. 3. Increased capacity to address asthma through School Nurse Asthma Champions who improved the use of asthma action plans, facilitated communication with students, and coordinated asthma education. 4. Support from key changemakers, including the school physician, school nursing leadership and the Director of Facilities. Conclusion: Key findings for successful implementation were improved communication, increased infrastructure within the school nursing department, and connecting individuals with available resources.

Learning Areas:

Advocacy for health and health education
Systems thinking models (conceptual and theoretical models), applications related to public health

Learning Objectives:
Identify key facilitators for successfully addressing asthma in schools. Describe solutions for possible barriers to addressing asthma in schools.

Keyword(s): Asthma, Public Health Education and Health Promotion

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been involved with the implementation of the Pioneer Valley Asthma Coalition's programming and advocacy efforts.
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.