"We are really very excited to be a NACI [National Asthma Control Initiative] partner. This gives us an opportunity to build upon our existing program with our pediatric asthma Faculty Champions initiative, which is focused on the environmental component [of asthma control]."
Leyla McCurdy, M.Phil., Senior Director, Health & Environment Program, National Environmental Education Foundation (Washington, DC)
Leyla McCurdy, M.Phil., National Environmental Education Foundation, on the NACI's role in facilitating collaboration to improve asthma care.
The National Environmental Education Foundation's (NEEF) Pediatric Asthma Initiative used an expanded nationwide network of Pediatric Asthma Faculty Champions to train clinical faculty, medical students, residents, and health care providers on how to provide comprehensive asthma care, with a special focus on the environmental management of asthma. As they conducted workshops, grand rounds, and lectures at medical and nursing schools, hospitals, professional conferences, and other venues across the country, NEEF's Faculty Champions also developed partnerships with faculty, administrators, and health care providers. Their aim? To make clinical asthma guidelines an ongoing part of residency training, medical and nursing school curricula, and pediatric and primary care practices.
NEEF's training materials and tools used by its Faculty Champions include the six priority Guidelines Implementation Panel (GIP) messages developed by the National Asthma Education and Prevention Program (NAEPP) to reinforce the importance of guidelines-based asthma care. The materials include a training presentation for health care providers on environmental management of pediatric asthma, a pocket tool card for health care providers, and a NEEF-NACI partnership card. All of NEEF's tools and resources are available for download on its Pediatric Asthma Initiative homepage.
Increase the number of health care professionals who are successfully integrating the six priority messages of the NAEPP's Guidelines Implementation Panel (GIP) Report into the care of their asthma patients, with special attention given to environmental management of asthma.
Promote integration of comprehensive management of pediatric asthma into residency training, medical school curriculum, and the health care system in a sustainable manner.
Leyla McCurdy (left ) with Helen Ragazzi M.D., representing the Medical Society of Virginia Foundation, a NACI Demonstration Project, during a NACI meeting in Baltimore, MD.
Challenges & Solutions
Challenge: Identify new outreach opportunities. NEEF continuously strives to build relationships with new networks and groups to promote asthma control with a focus on environmental management. NEEF found it challenging, however, to identify conferences, meetings, and trainings being held by other NACI partners to take full advantage of this network as a means of expanding the reach of its Pediatric Asthma Initiative.
Solution: Utilize the NACI's communication network. NEEF sent an announcement to the other NACI–funded projects summarizing its Pediatric Asthma Faculty Champions Initiative and offering training opportunities to partner programs. NACI projects responded enthusiastically. For example, at the request of the HHC Woodhull Medical and Mental Health Center in Brooklyn, NY, a NACI Demonstration Project, a NEEF Faculty Champion conducted a training session for pediatricians on the environmental management of pediatric asthma. In coordination with another NACI Demonstration Project, Medical Care Development, a NEEF Faculty Champion provided training for staff at a regional hospital in Calais, Maine.
The Faculty Champions trained over 6,200 other health care providers, providing information on all six GIP messages, with an emphasis on environmental control. Since the start of the Pediatric Asthma Initiative, NEEF and the Faculty Champions trained approximately 12,000 other health care providers about environmental management of pediatric asthma.
NEEF has been featured on a variety of webinars using its training presentation with the six GIP messages. NEEF's webinar on the environmental management of pediatric asthma, co-hosted by the NACI, drew an audience of 166 sites during its one-hour presentation. Led by one of NEEF's Faculty Champions, the webinar included a lively question and answer session.
NEEF's evaluation of the Faculty Champions Initiative found pediatricians' knowledge and their management of environmental asthma triggers improved significantly after training. Findings were published in Clinical Pediatrics.
NEEF and its Faculty Champions are working to integrate environmental management of pediatric asthma into electronic medical records as part of its efforts to institutionalize environmental control. This important piece of health care integration will help NEEF reach new and expanded audiences with information and resources on environmental management of pediatric asthma.
NEEF shared and collaborated with other NACI-funded projects to advance asthma care best practices. For example:
NEEF co-presented a skills-building session on the environmental management of asthma at the 2011 annual convention of the National Medical Association, a NACI Strategic Partner.
NEEF works with various national partners including the American Academy of Pediatrics, National Hispanic Medical Association, and the Children's Environmental Health Network to achieve their shared goals toward delivering comprehensive asthma care, including environmental control. The project continues to be funded by the Environmental Protection Agency and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
NEEF used provider education and environmental asthma management strategies to help meet its project goals.
Other NACI-funded projects using NEEF-type approaches are: