At the request of Breathe D.C., RHA trained select staff to deliver RHA’s Fight Asthma Now © and Asthma Management programs at select schools in D.C.
According to Rolando A. Andrewn, President and CEO of Breathe DC INC, “Breathe DC is committed to improving the health of the District’s children with asthma. That is why we have worked with Respiratory Health Association for many years. Specifically, we utilized Fight Asthma Now © to improve our children’s and caregivers asthma management. We strongly recommend RHA’s Fight Asthma Now © program for students and Asthma Management with asthma and adult caregivers.”
RHA leads efforts to pass statewide legislation to improve asthma emergency protocol in schools. The legislation requires the Illinois State Board of Education to develop a model emergency response protocol, and for school districts to implement their emergency protocols by January 1, 2017. The legislation also requires school staff who work with students with asthma to complete training. Schools need to request an asthma action plan each year from parents or guardians of a student with asthma. RHA works with Illinois Department of Public Health to develop statewide training materials, including an educational webinar which is viewed by more than 4,000 school staff.
Governor Quinn signed new, RHA-sponsored legislation into effect that allows children to carry and administer their quick-relief asthma inhalers at school with strictly parental consent. Students now only need to submit note from a parent or guardian and a copy of their prescription having previously required physician consent. RHA sought to remove this barrier in order to improve compliance with students being able to carry their inhaler in school.
Working with the Stakeholders Collaborative to Improve Student Health, RHA is successful in passing legislation to require schools to provide chronic disease awareness education to teachers.
RHA developed its validated, Fight Asthma Now© and an accompanying Asthma Management program for adult caregivers of children with asthma including parents, school staff, day care providers, and park district staff. The goal of these programs is to better arm children with asthma and their adult caregivers the health education necessary to control the disease, thereby reducing asthma emergencies and school absenteeism, and improving their quality of life.
Fight Asthma Now© meets the specific needs of Chicago’s diverse communities. Based on guidelines from the National Asthma Education and Prevention Program (NAEPP), Fight Asthma Now© was developed with input from pediatricians, respiratory therapists, community educators and parents of children with asthma. Fight Asthma Now© covers content set forth in the NAEPP guidelines including: how to identify asthma symptoms, how to avoid asthma triggers, and proper medication technique. Fight Asthma Now© is an educational program for youth (3rd to 6th grade) and teens (7th to 12th grades) with asthma. The program includes culturally appropriate visual, auditory and experiential learning through diagrams and photographs, demonstrations, group discussion and individual reflection. All participants receive a free workbook, which includes an asthma action plan and a free spacer as enduring resources.
Asthma Management is RHA’s free, one-hour educational program developed for adult caregivers, including, parents, caregivers, school staff, community groups, and daycare providers. Consistent with NAEPP guidelines, the program aims to help them better recognize and more effectively support children living with asthma. RHA’s Asthma Management program is tailored to meet the needs of each audience. Asthma Management for Parents is available in both English and Spanish.
To date, more than 15,000 students have been reached with Fight Asthma Now© and more than 33,000 adult caregivers have been educated through RHA’s Asthma Management throughout Chicagoland. RHA collaborates with a variety of community and government partners including Chicago Public Schools (CPS), Chicago Park District (CPD) and Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) to reach communities with high burden of asthma.
RHA leads efforts to pass a law protecting the rights of students to carry their prescribed epinephrine during the school day. The Illinois General Assembly passes Public Act 94-0792 to amend Section 22-30 of the School Code to address self-administration of epinephrine auto-injectors. The amendment provides that a school must permit the self-administration and use of an epinephrine auto-injector by a student under the same conditions as the use of an asthma medication.
Through community outreach RHA learned that individuals were denied coverage of additional spacers and peak flow meters. Because of advocacy by our organization, Medicaid reimbursement for Spacers and Peakflow meters increased from one per year to four per year with no prior authorization needed.
Public Act 094-0328 requires the Department of Public Aid to evaluate current standards of treatment of asthma for its beneficiaries. The review may include state-of-the-art programs in asthma disease management as well as evidence-based best practices for the early diagnosis, treatment, and control of asthma, particularly in children.
After months of advocacy by RHA and other organizations, the Illinois General Assembly enacts PA 96-670, which authorizes children living with asthma to self-carry and self-administer their asthma medication while at a recreational camp.
Along with partners, RHA organization supports Public Act 093-1015 which requires the Illinois Department of Public Health to develop a comprehensive statewide asthma management plan and for IDPH to provide leadership in Illinois for and coordination of asthma prevention and intervention activities. RHA has continued to place asthma at the forefront of public health and continued partner with IDPH to address asthma in Illinois.