The George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services (SPHHS) this week announced the launch of the Childhood Asthma Leadership Coalition, a multisector group of advocates and experts dedicated to raising awareness and advancing public policies to improve the health of children who suffer from asthma.

SPHHS and its partners—the Merck Childhood Asthma Network Inc (MCAN), the nation’s only organization focused solely on childhood asthma; and First Focus, a bipartisan children’s advocacy organization—have established the coalition to address this growing public health challenge, which disproportionately affects low-income and minority children.

"In some communities, an estimated 40% of all children are living with asthma," said Katie Horton, RN, MPH, JD, a lead investigator on the project and a research professor within SPHHS’s Department of Health Policy. "Using findings from evidence-based research, the Coalition hopes to identify real-world solutions to curtail the rising rates of asthma and help keep kids with asthma healthy."

Since reducing the burden of asthma on children and families requires a multi-pronged approach to address many underlying factors, the new coalition includes a cross-section of experts from a variety of fields including housing, environmental health, health care delivery, health economics, and public policy.

By working collaboratively, the coalition aims to accelerate prevention and improve the diagnosis, treatment, and long-term management of childhood asthma through targeted state and federal efforts. In particular, the coalition intends to work with leaders from the multiple federal agencies charged with implementing the new Coordinated Federal Action Plan to Reduce Racial and Ethnic Asthma Disparities to develop concrete, actionable policy solutions that reduce the burden of asthma for children living in low-income and medically-underserved communities.

The coalition will also address barriers that prevent children from accessing the healthcare services they need to control and manage asthma.

Source: George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services