NIH News Release
National Institute of
Allergy and Infectious Diseases

Monday, February 5, 2001
Laurie K. Doepel, NIH, NIAID
(301) 402-1663

CDC, Division of Media Relations
(404) 639-3286

Grants Awarded to Implement Inner-City Asthma Intervention

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced today the awarding of grant funds to 23 sites to improve the health of inner-city children with asthma. This is a $2.9 million project.

These funds will enable community-based health organizations throughout the United States to implement a scientifically proven asthma intervention program. This asthma intervention program is based on the National Cooperative Inner-City Asthma Study (NCICAS), which was supported by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). NCICAS is the largest asthma study of children ever completed in the inner city.

"Asthma is a major public health problem that has been increasing over several decades," said Richard Jackson, M.D., director of CDC's National Center for Environmental Health (NCEH). "We have an urgent need to take action and begin to implement the best methods available based on sound research to control and prevent it."

"This new project is a wonderful opportunity to translate a product of NIAID's investment in clinical research into an intervention that will help thousands of disadvantaged children with asthma," said Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., director of NIAID.

The key component of the program is using an asthma counselor who tailors the intervention to the needs of the children with asthma and who works closely with the affected families for an extended period of time. The counselors are professional social workers who will help families address a wide variety of problems related to the physical and emotional aspects of asthma.

"Asthma can have a very negative effect on the quality of life of the people with asthma and their families because it can limit their ability to fully participate in life activities. This is seen in lost time at work for parents who must care for their children, and missed school days for those children," said Stephen C. Redd, M.D., CDC environmental health expert. "The aim of this project is to improve the children's quality of life and decrease unscheduled medical care visits and hospitalizations."

Asthma has a greater impact on low-income and minority families, as evidenced by the greater frequency of severe asthma episodes that lead to hospitalization or death. This new project is directed toward organizations that treat low-income, inner-city children, particularly those enrolled in Medicaid or the State Children's Health Insurance Plan.

The intervention will involve both group and individual training sessions with the child and family. This training will educate the child and the family about the causes of asthma, including the various environmental factors that can trigger it. Families will learn specific methods that they can implement to control asthma and to minimize those triggers. After the initial education component, the families will work with individual counselors to tailor an intervention plan based on their specific circumstances. The counselors will focus on the environment, school and special adherence training as needed. Finally, the counselor will provide continuous follow-up with the family to provide support to them as they make the necessary changes in behavior.

This new project supports the HHS strategic plan, "Action Against Asthma," which identifies as part of its framework the need to develop and implement interventions to reduce the burden of asthma, to eliminate its disproportionate health burden in minority populations and those living in poverty, and to assess the effectiveness of asthma programs.

CDC's national asthma control program includes (1) tracking the disease to understand to whom, where and when asthma occurs; providing the cornerstone for planning and evaluating programs and directing resources effectively; (2) assuring that intervention programs are based on solid science; and (3) assisting partners in developing, implementing and evaluating their local control programs.

NIAID is a component of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). NIAID conducts and supports research to prevent, diagnose, and treat infectious and immune-mediated illnesses, including HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases, tuberculosis, malaria, autoimmune disorders, asthma and allergies. NIH and CDC are agencies of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The following organizations will receive grants for this project:

* University of Alabama/Children's Health Systems/Children's Harbor Family Center, Birmingham

* El Rio Health Center, Tucson
* St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center, Phoenix

* Children's Asthma Consortium in Long Beach, Long Beach

* Florida Health Choice Network, Inc., Miami

* Cook County Hospital, Chicago

* Johns Hopkins Medical Services Corporation, Baltimore

* Baystate Medical Center, Springfield

* American Lung Association of Minnesota, Saint Paul

* Jackson-Hinds Comprehensive Health Center, Jackson

* Children's Mercy Hospital and Clinics, Kansas
* Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis

* Saint Barnabas Health Care System, West Orange

* Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University, Bronx
* Bronx-Lebanon Hospital Center, Bronx
* Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York
* University at Buffalo, SUNY, Buffalo

* WakeMed, Raleigh

* Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital, Cleveland

* CareOregon, Multnomah County

* Parkland Health and Hospital System, Dallas
* University of Texas/Health Science Center at San Antonio, San Antonio

* Howard University, District of Columbia

Press releases, fact sheets and other NIAID-related information is available on the NIAID Web site at