Center researchers are working to improve the quality of life of children with asthma — currently, fewer than 50% of these children are getting the treatments that will improve their lives.
Asthma is the most common chronic disease of childhood and is a leading cause of hospitalization and missed school days — and, unfortunately, the burdens of the disease fall disproportionately on disadvantaged children. Our researchers are studying the routine use of lung-function measurement in pediatricians' offices as a way to reliably identify children who need more intense treatment. We are also training pediatricians to use a brief motivational-counseling approach when they talk to parents in order to promote the sometimes complex behaviors that are part of optimal asthma management and to reinforce that symptoms can usually be well-controlled through a combination of strategies, including avoiding asthma triggers (like tobacco smoke and dust mites) and proper use of medication.
Finally, we are going straight to parents to promote better asthma management in the home, through an Internet-based program. This program gives parents feedback on how well-controlled their child's asthma is and provides recommendations for improving their home regimen.