Addressing a High Incidence of Childhood Asthma

In Deep South Texas, on the U.S.-Mexico border, is an area called the Rio Grande Valley rich with culture, longstanding family values, and a growing population in need of better healthcare services. In particular, a high incidence of childhood asthma was observed as a cause of significant school absenteeism, parental employment conflicts, and increased emergency room visits.

To address this problem, Knapp Community Care Foundation partnered with Texas A&M University Health Science Center to fund a two-year family asthma education and intervention program.

Leveraging resources was critical to this initiative and included collaborations with two local hospitals and a partnership with a local college whose medical students served as the clinical workforce for the program.

The remarkable impacts of this program surpassed expectations. They are detailed in a peer-reviewed journal article [1] and include:

  • The number of individuals served exceeded program goals by 89.5% (5,774 persons benefitted from the program versus the original program goal of 600).
  • Countless asthma attacks were prevented and symptom identification and control was improved among those suffering from this chronic disease.
  • School attendance was positively impacted.
  • Cross-sector collaborations were established, and existing channels—including Head Start centers, public libraries, community health fairs, and summer camps—were leveraged to increase program outreach and implementation thereby strengthening community networks and safety nets.
  • The Department of State Health Services approved the educational health curriculum developed for this program as part of the state curriculum for the Community Health Worker credential.
  • The program director was awarded the 2016 Children’s Environmental Health Excellence Award from the Office of Children’s Health Protection at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

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[1] Carrillo, G., Perez-Patron, M., Lucio, R. L., Cabrera, L., Trevino, A., Xu, X., et. al. The benefits and challenges of managing asthma in Hispanic families in South Texas: A mixed-methods study. Frontiers in Public Health, 30 June 2017 |