The University Record, January 9, 1996

Grant to SPH supports new asthma management program

By Deborah Gilbert
News and Information Services

The School of Public Health has received a $2.3 million grant from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute to develop an asthma management and prevention project for children in Detroit schools.

"A 1993-94 pilot study in two Detroit schools suggests that rates of asthma are disturbingly high with perhaps upwards of 20 percent of children having active symptoms," says Noreen M. Clark, dean of the School of Public Health and principal invesitgator for the project. "Our goal is to help children-with the support of their families and school personnel-to manage the disease themselves and head off acute episodes."

The Detroit elementary schools currently involved in the project are Birney, Durfee, Fairbanks, Hampton, Keidan, Loving, Marshall, Pasteur, Schulze, and Winterhalter.

The project will provide:

Self-management education for school children with asthma.

A classroom module titled "Environmental Detective," which educates all children about asthma and the environment, and promotes support for those with asthma.

Specialized asthma training for teachers, other school personnel and parents.

Education for building services staff on the effect of the environment on asthma.

A community asthma awareness campaign.

According to the American Lung Association, more than 13 million Americans suffer from asthma-a chronic inflammatory disease of the lungs-and one-third of these asthma sufferers are children ages 18 and under. In 1992, asthma ranked second, behind pneumonia, as the most commonly listed disorder on hospital discharges among children under age 15. African Americans suffer more frequently from asthma than whites. Asthma can be associated with economic, environmental, psychological and social factors, as well as genetic predisposition, according to Clark.

The project is a collaberation of the School of Public Health and the Medical School; Henry Ford Hospital; the American Lung Association; Area D, Detroit Public School Distric; the Office of Research and Evaluation of the Detroit Board of Education; Zeta Phi Beta; and the Michigan Department of Education.