To reduce the number of children with asthma who visit emergency rooms because of uncontrolled asthma attacks, and to improve the way patients, parents, and healthcare providers monitor and manage pediatric asthma, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the nation's largest philanthropy devoted to health and health care, has awarded four grants totaling nearly $3.5 million through its Managing Pediatric Asthma: Emergency Department Demonstration Program.
Over the next three years, grantees in Honolulu, Houston, Milwaukee, and Washington, D.C., will conduct projects to improve pediatric asthma treatment and management in areas with high asthma rates. Project components include training health-care providers to recognize and treat asthma appropriately; helping young patients and their parents identify and manage the environmental and other factors that may trigger asthma attacks; and tracking data trends on asthmatic patients visiting the emergency department.
"Many people believe incorrectly that asthma is a condition that can't be controlled, that attacks can't be prevented, that asthmatic kids need to limit their activities because of their disease," said RWJF senior program officer Robin Mockenhaupt, Ph.D. "This program will educate patients, parents, and physicians about what they can do to manage the disease and help kids with asthma live fuller, healthier lives."
Asthma, a chronic inflammatory disease of the airways, affects more than 14.9 million Americans, including an estimated five million children. Rates in children have increased by 92 percent during the past decade, and by 160 percent in children under the age of four.