A new study examines a the community-based approach to managing asthma for children
The new approach to community-based asthma management will be introduced in 40 charter, public, or parochial schools in the Bronx. It will enroll 416 children aged between 4 and 12 years. The five-year research project, called Evaluation of the Asthma Management Program To Promote Physical Activity for Students in Schools (Asthma PASS) was funded by a $4.2million grant from the National Institutes of Health and the Children’s Hospital at Montefiore. The research will be led by Marina Reznik, M.D., M.S., Vice Chair for clinical and community-based research, CHAM and Einstein as well as professor of pediatrics at Einstein.
Montefiore-Einstein research shows the rate of asthma prevalence in the Bronx is as high as 25% in some neighborhoods which is the highest of all New York boroughs. The Bronx also has the most asthma-related hospitalizations and deaths in New York.
Asthma PASS was created in collaboration with Bronx elementary school parents, asthma parents, and community members. A pilot study was conducted in four schools. It showed an increase in symptom-free and children’s physical exercise, which is an important aspect of asthma management. Our goal with the expansion of the study is to determine whether we can reduce asthma symptoms in high-risk urban schoolchildren.”
Dr. Marina Reznik M.D., M.S. Vice Chair for clinical-based research, CHAM, Einstein, and professor at Einstein of pediatrics
The new cluster-randomized controlled trial will assign participating schools to either the Asthma PASS intervention or the Asthma Management comparison group.
Asthma-PASS schools will be randomized to attend an asthma workshop for school staff and will also hold an asthma awareness week. Students will be involved in activities that involve hands-on work, such as writing poems, making posters and learning facts about asthma. This will help to reduce stigma and raise awareness about the disease. Asthma-PASS families can also work with a Community Health Worker to address concerns regarding physical activity or care coordination.
All schools, regardless of assigned group, will continue offering ongoing opportunities in the classroom and at school to exercise. Students in the Asthma-PASS group will complete their intervention and final assessments. Children in Asthma Management schools that are not in comparison however, will be provided asthma workshops. Parents and children in both groups will be provided with COVID-19 assistance and education. At the conclusion of the study, researchers will examine outcomes for children in the Asthma-PASS group as compared to children in the Asthma Management group.
“During the first Asthma-PASS study pilot, we were blown away by the creative ways children learned and shared knowledge about asthma during the awareness week,” said Dr. Reznik. “We hope that all children who participate in the study find it enjoyable and enjoyable. We also hope they will learn how to better manage their condition, and improve their overall wellbeing.”
In previous research, Dr. Reznik and colleagues found that urban minority children with asthma face obstacles to exercise, such as asthma-related stigmas reported by children, parent/child fear of asthma attacks caused by physical activity, and lack of confidence among teachers in helping children with acute asthma. Asthma researchers and clinicians support physical activity for children suffering from asthma since it is associated with a decrease in severity of asthma symptoms, as well as better disease control and quality of life.
Dr. Reznik conducted a previous study that showed that CHWs who provide home-based asthma education can reduce symptoms and improve children’s health outcomes. The Asthma-PASS program combines the best of both studies to provide better the support and outcomes of asthma patients and their families.
Dr. Reznik has dedicated her career to caring for patients with asthma in her clinic, but also to discovering ways to improve the socioeconomic and environmental factors that affect children’s asthma management. She has been involved in 10 community-based asthma interventions. She has enrolled approximately 3000 children and/or their parents. She also works with a variety of community-based organizations to design and evaluate practical, effective ways to treat asthma in children, as well as reduce hospitalizations and exacerbations.
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