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Spring-Summer, 2012

NACI Breaking News

Millions of Americans Learn About Asthma Control Thanks to World Asthma Day and Asthma Awareness Month

A potential 85 million listeners, more than 7 million readers, and hundreds of webinar participants: Those are just the preliminary estimates of how many people were reached by the National Asthma Education and Prevention Program’s (NAEPP) World Asthma Day and Asthma Awareness Month (May) efforts to highlight written asthma action plans as part of a comprehensive approach to improving asthma care and control, especially for those bearing the greatest burden.

The NAEPP is coordinated by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health. The NAEPP's clinical practice guidelines recommend that all patients with asthma—particularly those with moderate and severe asthma, a history of asthma attacks, or poorly controlled asthma—receive a written, tailored asthma action plan from their health care provider. A written asthma action plan provides asthma patients with instructions and information on how to self-manage their asthma daily, including taking medications appropriately, and identifying and avoiding exposure to allergens and irritants that can bring about asthma symptoms. In addition, asthma action plans provide information on how to recognize and handle worsening asthma, and when, how, and who to contact in an emergency.

Web button for World Asthma Day and Asthma Awareness Month

The NAEPP’s diverse and far-reaching educational push during May included distribution of key information and resources through an array of channels. Specific activities included engaging NAEPP Coordinating Committee members and other asthma stakeholders in disseminating key messages about asthma care and control; producing and pitching a news article, “Six Actions to Control Asthma,”  to community-level media; approaching individual top-tier members of the media with news about asthma action plans and offering expert interviews on asthma; hosting two webinars; and posting a World Asthma Day Web page to share resources.

In a mere three weeks, the “Six Actions to Control Asthma” news article was picked up by 25 news outlets from states across the country, from Alaska to Georgia, potentially reaching more than 7 million readers. This outreach continues.

Many million more were reached by the following two radio interviews:

  • National Institutes of Health (NIH) Radio: Dr. James P. Kiley, NAEPP member and director of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute’s (NHLBI) Division of Lung Diseases, was interviewed about the asthma—its symptoms, ways to control it, and some current research on asthma treatment and prevention. The NIH broadcast reaches some 78 million listeners annually. Listen to or read Dr. Kiley’s May 18 interview.
  • The Tom Joyner Morning Show: On May 23, as part of his “Get Well Wednesday” series, top-ranked radio host Tom Joyner interviewed Dr. Michael LeNoir (an expert on asthma in urban areas and minority communities, and the National Medical Association’s representative to the NAEPP Coordinating Committee) about asthma and allergies in the African American community. Following the interview, Dr. LeNoir also responded to questions sent in electronically by listeners. Joyner’s show airs in more than 105 media markets, reaching an audience of more than 8 million listeners, the majority of whom are African American. The African American community bears a substantial asthma burden, with one of every six children tackling the chronic disease daily. View Dr. LeNoir’s responses to listener questions for more details.

Moreover, two webinars helped inform and guide health care providers and other asthma stakeholders on using the NAEPP’s six key actions for controlling asthma. The first webinar, “Regional Perspectives on Educating Diverse Communities About Asthma,” featured six asthma experts from across the country and drew 187 online participants. The second webinar, “Let’s Bench Asthma: Keep Students with Asthma Physically Active and in the Game,” on June 5, included speakers from the NAEPP Coordinating Committee and the NAEPP’s Third Expert Panel, which developed the asthma guidelines.

Concurrently, throughout the month of May, NHLBI’s Office of Communication supported the NAEPP’s efforts by issuing a World Asthma Day statement and posting a dozen or so times on the NIH’s Facebook page and Twitter feed. The posts and tweets profiled Asthma Awareness Month activities, asthma action plans, asthma in general, the NAEPP, and the National Asthma Control Initiative (NACI), and these posts and tweets drove people to the NACI Web site, resources, and webinar registration via links.

Finally, NAEPP’s Coordinating Committee members, partners, and supporters of the NACI also assisted in distributing both information and materials on World Asthma Day and over the course of the month. Materials included a press release that could be tailored for distribution to local media, as well as the aforementioned news article for community-level media placement, a button to link back to a new World Asthma Day resources page on the NACI Web site, and key messages to be woven into their announcements.

And this is just the beginning. The NAEPP, its NACI, and various partners/supporters will continue to use the messaging and materials created for World Asthma Day and Asthma Awareness Month well into the future to improve asthma care and control, and ultimately help people who have asthma breathe easier. Visit the World Asthma Day page for asthma resources, including a downloadable copy of the NHLBI’s Asthma Action Plan.

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Last Updated June 2012




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