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Summer, 2011

NACI Breaking News

Asthma Webinar Sets Attendance Record

558 — That’s how many people logged on for the webinar Asthma Control: Are you doing YOUR Part? An Update for School Nurses in School-based Asthma Management,” hosted by the American School Health Association (ASHA), a National Asthma Control Initiative (NACI) Strategic Partner.

That’s more people than can be seated in a Boeing 747 “Jumbo Jet.” It’s also about six times as many participants as ASHA had expected.

“In October 2010, we had a similar workshop at our annual conference, and we anticipated some 75–100 webinar participants based on that turnout,” said Stephen Conley, Ph.D., ASHA Executive Director. “Webinar registration was open for 5 weeks, and initially we had 75 registrants. Then suddenly, last minute, it jumped to 300!”

Conley was thrilled, but he had a problem. ASHA had signed up for a 30-day free trial of webinar software which seated only 100.

“So, I had to do some rushing around to get an extension on the software,” said Conley. “It was a bit scary.”

It was a good thing the extension was granted, because the number of registrants kept climbing. In fact, on the day of the webinar (May 16, 2011), the level of interest from the final 558 attendees was so great that the webinar ran 35 minutes long, and panelists still were able to address only half of the questions.

Conley credits this record turnout and interest to a jump in the number of school nurses providing care to students with asthma, coupled with several other factors.

“Travel and training budgets have been trimmed, but people still need training, and they need it inexpensively,” said Conley. “They need it from their laptop.”

The webinar guided school nurses (and others attendees) through the National Asthma Education and Prevention Program’s (NAEPP) six priority actions for how to improve asthma care and control through the latest guidelines for the diagnosis and management of asthma. The presentation focused specifically on advances in school-based asthma management and techniques to overcome barriers to controlling asthma in the school setting. 

Panelists were Dr. Lani Wheeler, pediatric asthma specialist and NAEPP School Subcommittee Chair; Dr. Benjamin Francisco, director of Asthma Ready® Communities; and Deborah Cook, RN, director of Health Services, Kennett Public Schools, Missouri.

When quizzed about what role promotion and marketing had in triggering the tsunami of interest, Conley replied, “Our outreach was entirely electronic: We posted news of the webinar on our own Web site and through our listservs, and because we have a good relationship with the National Association of School Nurses, they did the same. But the more I spoke to people about how they learned about the webinar, it became clear that it had gone viral because people were hearing about it from other sources.”

From his one-on-one contact with attendees and others, Conley is also convinced that the presentation reached hundreds more than had registered. 

“Even before the webinar, we had a gentleman from Russell County, West Virginia, tell me that he was going to have 12 people listen in with him,” said Conley.

The webinar is available on the ASHA Web site, as is ASHA’s GIP Messages for Schools tip sheet and more. Conley reports that he is currently reviewing the results of an online survey that ASHA conducted following the webinar.

The survey hopefully will yield additional information to help guide an even greater number of school nurses—and other school professionals—on how to improve asthma care in the school setting using the GIP messages and guidelines, given that—as the ASHA Web site states—“A coordinated effort between an asthma care clinician, the school nurse, and a student’s caregivers is the most effective way to control a student’s asthma.”

Next: GIP in Focus


Last Updated July 2011

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