- Volume 7 | Special Edition
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Asthma Experts Gather to Share Lessons Learned and Chart Next Steps to Improved Asthma Care and Control
“This is your program. You’re like a thousand points of light,” declared Denise Simons-Morton, M.D., M.P.H., Ph.D., Director of the Division for the Application of Research Discoveries (DARD) at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), as she welcomed participants to the 2011 National Asthma Education and Prevention Program (NAEPP) Coordinating Committee Meeting.
Underscoring the importance of collaboration and communication in improving quality of life for some 25 million Americans who have asthma, Dr. Simons-Morton encouraged all participants to share their ideas without hesitation over the course of the gathering on September 26–27 in Baltimore, MD. She also reaffirmed the NHLBI’s commitment to supporting the NAEPP—launched by the NHLBI 22 years ago—emphasizing, “The NHLBI works to ensure that everything we do, from scientific research to its application in practice, is evidence-based.”
The meeting brought together 80 professionals from around the country, all dedicated to working with one another and with the NAEPP to improve asthma care and control nationwide.
GIP in Focus
Bridging the Asthma Gap with the GIP
What is the asthma gap? It’s the gap between recommended best practices for asthma care and the asthma care that patients actually receive. Communities that have not bridged this gap face poorer asthma outcomes.
What is the GIP? It refers to the Guidelines Implementation Panel (GIP) Report, which outlines six priority messages based on the Expert Panel Report 3–Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Asthma (EPR-3) and key strategies to help clinicians and their patients improve asthma care and control. The National Asthma Education and Prevention Program (NAEPP), coordinated by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), directed the development of both reports.
“The GIP messages are good,” said Michael LeNoir, M.D., a practicing consulting allergist and pediatrician in the San Francisco Bay Area, CEO of the multimedia Ethnic Health America Network, and principal investigator for the National Medical Association’s Strategic Partnership with the NAEPP’s National Asthma Control Initiative (NACI). “They get at the essence of asthma care.” But Dr. LeNoir believes that the GIP messages alone are not the answer to addressing asthma disparities. Educating patients to better understand asthma, and ensuring that providers know why the GIP messages are important, is also essential.
Asthma Research into Action
The National Asthma Education and Prevention Program (NAEPP): Reflecting on Progress, Charting a Course Ahead
Gary S. Rachelefsky, M.D., is restless. Too many people who have asthma get no relief, despite clear scientific and medical progress in treating the disease. So he has one question:
“What haven’t we done?”
He is speaking about the NAEPP Coordinating Committee, on which he has served for more than half of his 37 years of medical practice. As the American Academy of Pediatrics’ representative to the committee, which is coordinated by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), Dr. Rachelefsky has been a pioneer in translating research into action.
And while he’s wiling to talk about the NAEPP’s past success in using science to guide clinical practice in ways that have transformed the lives of people who have asthma, what he really wants is to turn up the volume so that everyone—from patients, families, and health care providers to businesses, schools, and community groups— hears the message that asthma can be controlled. Through their ability to reach various audiences all across the country, the national organizations of the NAEPP can help generate the widespread support necessary for putting asthma guidelines into action.
NACI's Three Prongs Spearhead Change in the Asthma Arena
If you received funding to improve asthma care and control using six priority messages designed to put science-based asthma guidelines into action, how would you describe what your program did and what your program accomplished?
About 40 project representatives from the three core, funded programs of the National Asthma Education and Prevention Program’s (NAEPP) National Asthma Control Initiative (NACI)—Demonstration Projects, Strategic Partners, and Clinical Champions—came to the 2011 NAEPP Coordinating Committee meeting in Baltimore, MD, to answer those two questions. They discussed not only how their projects put the priority messages from the NAEPP’s Guidelines Implementation Panel (GIP) Report into practice, but also how their findings might guide the future direction of the NACI and the NAEPP.
The combined efforts of the various NACI program partners “are like a pebble dropped in the water,” stated Mamta Reddy, M.D., of the South Bronx Asthma Partnership at Bronx-Lebanon Hospital, referring to the ripple effect where the impact from one action extends outward to produce additional effects.
But that’s not all Dr. Reddy said.