ANN ARBOR---The University of Michigan School of Public Health has been named the national program office of a $12.5 million Robert Wood Johnson Foundation community-based project designed to improve the quality of life for children with asthma.
Asthma, which is a chronic inflammatory disease of the airways, is the most common chronic disease of childhood, affecting an estimated 5 million children. The prevalence of asthma has been increasing for all age groups, but especially children, increasing by 92 percent over the past decade, said Noreen Clark, dean of the School of Public Health and director of the project, called Allies Against Asthma.
The project calls for establishing local coalitions that will implement programs designed to reduce hospital stays, emergency room visits, the number of missed school days, develop asthma management programs, and, in general, enhance the quality of life for children with asthma.
"The program will help communities around the country strengthen their capacity to control asthma. If we are serious about solving the problem of asthma, we have to tackle it collectively. We need to understand more about the nature and effect of collaborations among public, private and voluntary organizations," Clark said.
The coalitions will create community-based asthma programs that will utilize the best of existing treatment methods and the latest asthma-related scientific discoveries. Faculty members from throughout the University involved in asthma research will serve as technical advisers on the project.
"This is an excellent example of how the University can move between research and action. Through the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation we will be able to help eight communities to undertake and assess asthma control activities," Clark said.
Each of the coalitions will involve local medical care providers, public health
and environmental agencies, managed care organizations, community residents,
schools, housing p
Contact: Amy Reyes
University of Michigan