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NACI In the Know: Assess Asthma Severity

Volume 2 | Summer 2010

GIP in Focus

A Core Change in Asthma Assessment and Control Fueled by a Cup of Joe

Take one coffee shop in Denver, CO… 

+ one stack of napkins with the shop’s distinctive green and black mermaid logo

+ two asthma experts

= One breakthrough idea about how to make asthma assessment and control more effective.

The two asthma experts on that fateful afternoon were Homer A. Boushey, MD, an internationally recognized pulmonary expert who has studied asthma and other diseases of the airways for more than 30 years, and Stuart W. Stoloff, MD, a family medicine practitioner and clinical professor of family and community medicine.

Both are members of the expert panel convened at the recommendation of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute’s National Asthma Education and Prevention Program (NAEPP), which developed the third report on the Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Asthma (EPR-3). In fact, they co-authored the EPR-3’s chapter on improving asthma assessment and monitoring control.

When asked separately about the defining moment in their collaboration…

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Asthma Research into Action

Opening the Flow of Two-Way Communication

Behavior—it’s the linchpin between adherence to taking medication and outcomes.

Dr. Cynthia Rand
Dr. Cynthia Rand, Johns Hopkins Center for Adherence Research

“All medicine requires patients to be engaged at some level, whether it’s taking a pill or using an inhaler,” said the Director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Adherence Research, Cynthia S. Rand, PhD. “The best drug in the world is useless if not taken.”

And, as research has shown, at least one third of people who have asthma are not taking their medication as prescribed. According to Rand, the challenge is recognizing that asthma is both chronic and episodic.

“It is human nature to react when you have an episode, but it’s easy to forget about it afterward and lapse into mistakenly thinking ‘Oh, my asthma has gone away,’” said Rand.

Rand is an internationally known expert on medication adherence and directs both the Johns Hopkins Center for Adherence Research and the National Institutes of Health (NIH)-sponsored Howard-Hopkins Center for Reducing Asthma Disparities. She is also the principal investigator of two asthma-related NIH projects.

Experience has shown her the “heart and soul” of getting patients to stick to their therapy…

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NACI Partner Profile

Children’s National Medical Center: Tackling the Capital’s High Asthma Rates as a Team

“In Washington, DC, asthma among children is nearly 20 percent higher and emergency room visits for asthma attacks are up to five times greater than the national average,” said Stephen Teach, MD, MPH, medical director of Improving Pediatric Asthma Care in the District of Columbia (IMPACT DC) and principal investigator of one of 13 NACI pilot demonstration projects

Doctors Stephen J. Teach and Mark Weissman
Stephen J. Teach, MD, MPH, left, and Mark Weissman, MD

Not only that, emergency department (ED) visit rates among children from disadvantaged, minority-dense parts of the District are nearly 12 times higher than those in more affluent areas.

How does one bridge this deep chasm?

Or get families to realize that rushing to the hospital when their child is struggling to breathe is not the long-term solution to managing a lifelong disease?

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Last Updated February 2011

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