Respiratory Health Association (RHA) is committed to improving asthma management among children and their adult caregivers. As a Health Educator with National Health Corps Chicago, I help to further this mission by providing programmatic and administrative support for RHAs asthma management education programs, Fight Asthma Now for students in grades 6 -12, and Asthma Management for adult caregivers.
Limited access to comprehensive disease management education is one of the most common barriers to achieving well-controlled asthma from both a student and caregiver perspective. Students often share that before they participated in Fight Asthma Now, they had little to no understanding of how asthma affects their body or how they can effectively manage the disease. Similarly, many of the parents and teachers I've interacted with over the last year have expressed frustration towards how to best support children living with asthma. Many parents have shared that even seemingly fundamental components of asthma management (like how to administer medication properly) have not been effectively communicated to them by their healthcare provider. For many families who struggle to access asthma management education, not having access to these resources has a profound impact on both the health of their child and their overall social, emotional, and physical development.
Over the last year, I have served to support efforts to expand access to RHAs asthma management education programs in communities with a high burden of asthma, primarily Chicago's South and West Sides. Through my involvement, I have been able to educate groups of students and adult caregivers on critical components of asthma management, such as early recognition of asthma symptoms, how to avoid asthma triggers and how to exercise proper medication techniques. Many of the individuals I've served have reported that after they participate in RHAs programs, they feel better prepared to manage their asthma (or that of their child's) effectively. Further, many individuals have expressed that receiving this information has empowered them to increase their use of asthma management strategies in their day to day life.
This blog post was written by NHC Chicago 2019-20 member Gabby Towson.
Gabby is a Health Educator at Respiratory Health Association.