Asthma coalitions in seven communities with exceptionally high asthma death rates have been awarded contracts by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI). The contracts are designed to establish partnerships between the NHLBI and local asthma coalitions to develop innovative, model programs for improving asthma care. The coalitions will implement activities to eliminate disparities in asthma morbidity and mortality in their communities, especially among children, minorities, and low-income individuals.
According to NHLBI Director Dr. Claude Lenfant, "We now know enough about asthma so that no one should die from it any more. Yet people are still dying from asthma. Why? Because the information about how best to treat and control it is not being widely used. By forging partnerships with coalitions in high-risk communities, we can bring this information directly to the people who need it most."
"This is the first step in a broader plan to build a network of coalitions in high-risk communities to work together towards achieving the Healthy People 2010 goals of eliminating racial and ethnic disparities in health care," he added.
The NHLBI has a lead role in achieving the Healthy People 2010 goals in the Respiratory Diseases focus area. Eliminating racial and ethnic disparities in health care is a major Healthy People 2010 goal.
Asthma is a chronic lung condition that disproportionately affects children, minorities, and low-income individuals. Minority populations, particularly African Americans and Hispanics, account for a disproportionate share of asthma deaths, as well as emergency department visits and hospitalizations. Asthma also continues to be one of the leading causes of school absenteeism, limitations of activity, and disruption of family life in the U.S. The cost of asthma in the U.S. in 1998 was estimated at $11.3 billion.
The NHLBI created the National Asthma Education and Prevention Program (NAEPP) to improve awareness, early detection, and treatment of asthma. In 1997, it released the second U.S. Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Asthma, an Expert Panel Report that provides up-to-date comprehensive science-based information on the diagnosis and treatment of asthma. The Guidelines were disseminated widely to physicians and other health care professionals to help them improve the way they treat patients with asthma.
The contractors and their projects are:
Arkansas Asthma Coalition/Arkansas Children's Hospital Research Institute, Little Rock, AR
Central California Asthma Project/San Joaquin Valley Health Consortium, Fresno, CA
Chicago Asthma Consortium, Chicago, IL
Columbia University Asthma Coalition/Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, NY
Asthma Community Development Coalition/Health and Hospital Corporation of Marion County, Indianapolis, IN
Southeast Regional Clinicians' Network/Morehouse School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA
Tacoma-Pierce County Asthma Prevention Partnership, Tacoma, WA
The NHLBI is a component of the National Institutes of Health, located in Bethesda, MD.