Filed Under:  Health & Wellness

Youth asthma initiative expands coordination, partnerships

14th November 2011   ·   0 Comments

By Nayita Wilson
Contributing Writer

A local initiative that has educated children and families on how to monitor asthma is expanding into a second phase through a stronger community presence and partnership with Xavier University’s Center for Minority Health & Health Disparities Research and Education (CMHDRE), Daughters of Charity Services of New Orleans (DCSNO) and the Children’s Health Fund (CHF).

Since 2007, the Head-off Environmental Asthma in Louisiana (HEAL) program has worked with more than 150 youth in post-Katrina New Orleans through home and community based asthma counselors, case management services and environmental initiatives. During that phase, HEAL worked closely with parents and patients to determine what asthma related allergies children had.

Exploratory in nature, Phase I made strides in children’s health, according to Dr. Floyd Malveaux, vice president and executive director of the Merck Childhood Asthma Network, Inc., which along with The Merck Company foundation funded Phases I ($3 million) and is now funding Phase II (approximately $1.5 million).

“In Phase I, using the asthma educators, we were able to reduce the number of days that children have asthma symptoms. We were able to reduce the number of asthma attacks (and were) able to reduce hospitalizations because of asthma,” Malveaux said.

Moving forward to Phase II, HEAL will apply lessons learned from the first phase and partner educators and environmental experts with a health care system to develop “coordinated care” for youth ages two to 18 years old. The program will entail provider trainings, asthma educators, electronic medical records and community outreach and asthma awareness at DCSNO’s various community clinics and via CHF’s existing mobile units that are currently serving the Greater New Orleans area.

Xavier University’s CMHDRE serves as the fiscal agent on the project and is responsible for coordinating the initiative with all partners. Leonard Jack, Jr., PhD, MSC, and director of Xavier’s CMHDRE is principal investigator for HEAL Phase II; the program is expected to span over the course of four years.

For additional information, visit www.xula.edu/heal.

This article was originally published in the November 14, 2011 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper

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