Arkansas Asthma Coalition

Map of Arkansas

perla vargas photo
media icon Video Clip:
Perla A. Vargas, Ph.D.,
Project Investigator


Arkansas Children's Hospital Research Institute
Little Rock, Arkansas

Target Population

A lack of adequate medical care and poor access to medical services can greatly affect asthma morbidity. To affect morbidity rates and achieve Healthy People 2010 mortality and morbidity objectives, this project targets primary care providers, their clinical staff, and school nurses–particularly those serving rural populations. By raising awareness and affecting behavioral change in primary care providers, the ultimate target population consisting of low-income, rural children with persistent asthma will benefit from improved asthma management.

Proposed Strategy

Capitalizing on work of the Arkansas Asthma Coalition established in 1997, the project seeks to evaluate the magnitude of asthma morbidity and mortality in Arkansas and develop strategies to improve the quality of life and health care delivery to patients with asthma in high-risk, rural areas. Primary care providers will be exposed to a multi-faceted asthma educational intervention to improve appropriate diagnosis and management of asthma. Health care providers in high risk communities will be invited to attend CME sessions focusing on the diagnosis, evaluation and treatment of asthma as well as on building skills for managing, educating, and communicating with asthma patients. Physician office staff will receive training on protocols and techniques for educating and managing patients with asthma. School nurses will receive training on how to establish links with primary care providers, and how to identify and refer children with undiagnosed asthma into medical care. In addition, approximately 1,200 staff members of public schools will receive the American Lung Association's Asthma In-Service training.

The proposed strategy will focus on three NAEPP goals:

  • #1 -- To promote asthma awareness;
  • #2 -- To diagnosis and manage asthma; and
  • #4 -- To prevent recurrent exacerbation of asthma;

Anticipated Outcome

Improved management of asthma patients by health care providers is the anticipated outcome of this project. Success will be measured using patient documentation in medical records and electronic databases. Investigators will be looking for changes in practice patterns (e.g., written asthma management plans), prescription patterns (e.g., increased anti-inflammatory medications), and patient self-management behaviors.