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October 27, 2010

NACI In the Know eAlert

Turning Research into Reality: The NACI Launches a New Era

For two days in mid-September, the Baltimore-Washington Airport Marriott was abuzz with overlapping, enthusiastic conversations among 90 members and supporters of the National Asthma Education and Prevention Program (NAEPP) and its National Asthma Control Initiative (NACI), coordinated by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI).  

Participants from the NACI's 13, nationwide, funded demonstration projects, 10 strategic partners and the NAEPP Coordinating Committee met one another (many for the first time); learned how projects and partners are addressing the six Guidelines Implementation Panel (GIP) priority messages; and exchanged ideas with asthma experts and other notables. 

NACI Partners and Demonstration Project representatives sharing ideas on improving asthma care and control at the NAEPP/NACI 2010 Meeting.
NACI Strategic Partner and Demonstration Project representatives sharing ideas on improving asthma care and control at the NAEPP/NACI 2010 Meeting.

“What good is it to have research sit on the shelf?” said the Director of NHLBI's Division for the Application of Research Discoveries, Denise Simons-Morton, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H.  “Integral to the success of the NACI is stakeholder collaboration—we all need to act together.  It's only through joint efforts that we can make a difference and we look forward to working with each and every one of you.”

Dr. Simons-Morton's opening remarks were followed by presentations and then some unusual interactive activities and sessions to break the ice.

One such session had participants choose brightly colored bracelets (each color representing a different intervention strategy). Participants chose colors reflective of their own project strategies; put the bracelets on; and then went around the room to identify and speak with others wearing bracelets of the same color. 

Silly banz exercise
NAEPP/NACI 2010 Meeting attendees choosing colored plastic bracelets for a meet-and-greet exercise.

Make no mistake.  Participants never lost sight of the ultimate goal: developing and implementing the best approaches and tools to help health care professionals, patients, their families, and other stakeholders incorporate the GIP messages into their asthma care practices. Multiple presentations over the course of 48 hours—ranging from Establishing Standardized Asthma Outcome Measures to Issues, Challenges, and Future Opportunities—led to spirited discussion of how best to overcome hurdles and reach those groups, in particular, that are disproportionately affected by the burden of asthma.

Leyla Erk McCurdy, Senior Director of Health and Environment for the National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF), captured the essence of the meeting:

Sharing tools
A popular NAEPP/NACI 2010 Meeting session: resource-sharing.

“This was a wonderful opportunity to meet and interact with the other NACI partners and learn about the work they are doing. It was very useful to learn about the resources that have already been developed and to share the resources that NEEF has to offer with this group,” said McCurdy. “We made some excellent new connections and are very glad to have had this opportunity to connect with the other NACI partners and discuss possibilities for collaboration and sharing.”

The opportunity to network and share resources—ranging from newly developed questionnaires to “asthma passports”—ranked high among participants and was among many positive comments that came back on the meeting’s anonymous feedback forms, including:

“The entire day was valuable but sharing the tools was the best.”
 “Great networking opportunities; sharing ideas/brainstorming/problem solving.”

Group photo of confernce participants
NAEPP/NACI 2010 Meeting attendees