Pennsylvania's Asthma School Project and descriptive pilot investigation: a focus on environmental health tracking.
* Its prevalence has been increasing.
* Asthma-tracking efforts at the state and local levels have, however, been limited.
* The Pew Environmental Health Commission has designated asthma as a top priority for health outcome tracking in the states.
* The Pennsylvania Department of Health (PADOH) initiated the Asthma School Project in 2004.
* The project tracked childhood asthma in Pennsylvania school districts through the existing reporting system.
* Since 1997-1998, school nurses in Pennsylvania have reported
-- a count of the total number of students with asthma,
-- the average daily enrollment, and
-- the calculated rate (percentage) of students with asthma for each school district.
* They identify students with asthma on the basis of family and medical information made available to them.
* The reporting of asthma by school nurses appears to be a reliable data source.
* The project also found that asthma has increased steadily from a low of 6.6 percent during 1997-1998 to a high of 9.2 percent during 2002-2003.
* The participating school districts had the highest rates of asthma in Pennsylvania.
* PADOH could nevertheless find no obvious environmental factors associated either with prevalence rates or with unusual asthma episodes.
* The Asthma School Project also provided head school nurses with paper and electronic copies of a PADOH-approved Asthma Action Plan.
* The goal of the action plan was to encourage nurses, parents, students, and physicians to coordinate each child's asthma management.
* Also as part of the project, PADOH held an asthma training session in each community for school nurses and care providers.
* The school districts were put in contact with U.S. EPA regarding the Tools for Schools program, which helps schools identify potential indoor air quality issues.
* PADOH contacted local media to disseminate information on the project.
* The authors encourage other jurisdictions to track asthma rates in schools and investigate potential environmental exposures in homes and schools.
* Such efforts could provide information to help define and address many of the issues and questions about asthma in schools.
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|Title Annotation:||Practical Stuff!|
|Publication:||Journal of Environmental Health|
|Date:||Oct 1, 2007|
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