The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) of the National Institutes of Health will award 13 contracts to local organizations across the country to develop, implement, and test science-based guidelines to improve asthma control. The Academy for Educational Development, Washington, DC, serves as a contractor for the NHLBI’s National Asthma Control Initiative (NACI) and will administer the 2-year contracts totaling $1.3 million.

The NACI is a new endeavor to strengthen collaborative efforts among patients and families, health care providers, and others committed to improving the management of asthma.

"The guidelines give us the best that science has to offer about how to diagnose and control asthma, but unless health care providers, patients, and others integrate the recommendations into their programs and day-to-day routines for managing asthma, we will fall short of our potential to improve public health," said James P. Kiley, PhD, director of the NHLBI Division of Lung Diseases. "The National Asthma Control Initiative’s 13 demonstration projects will give us new strategies and practical tools to put the guidelines into practice in a variety of community settings. Taken together, these projects will help us make a difference in asthma control."

The contracts will provide insight into practices based on the recommendations from the Expert Panel Report 3-Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Asthma (EPR-3), and its companion, the Guidelines Implementation Panel (GIP) Report, both from the National Asthma Education and Prevention Program (NAEPP).

Each of the 13 projects will receive approximately $100,000 over 2 years to implement and evaluate the strategies outlined in EPR-3 and the GIP Report. The projects include asthma interventions in diverse communities including rural, urban, and suburban settings. Strategies target health care providers, adult and pediatric patients, patients’ families, school personnel, and others who play a role in helping patients manage asthma.

Some of the points that the projects address include the following:

  • Reducing asthma triggers in the home and at school;
  • providing Web-based and in-person educational outreach;
  • helping monitor and improve asthma control through symptoms diaries and asthma action plans; and,
  • developing pilot programs to improve systems of care.

The 13 contracts have been awarded to:

  • Asthma Allies, Albuquerque, NM
  • Boston Public Health Commission
  • Children’s Research Institute, Washington, DC
  • Dorchester House Multi-Service Center, Dorchester, Mass
  • HHC Woodhull Medical and Mental Health Center, New York City
  • Los Angeles Unified School District
  • Medical Care Development, Calais, Me
  • Medical Society of Virginia Foundation, Richmond
  • Michigan Department of Community Health, Lansing
  • Mission Healthcare Foundation, Asheville, NC
  • National Respiratory Training Center, Suffolk, Va
  • South Bronx Asthma Partnership/Bronx-Lebanon Hospital, New York City
  • University of California, San Francisco

“Our goal is to help people who have asthma lead longer, healthier, and fuller lives, thereby reducing asthma’s toll on those who have it. These demonstration projects are aimed at tackling different barriers to quality asthma care, so patients and their families can improve asthma control—and be active at work, school, and play,” said Diana Schmidt, MPH, NAEPP coordinator for the NHLBI.

Outcomes from the demonstration projects will be shared through the NACI to promote the adoption of asthma guidelines and improve the quality of asthma care nationwide. In addition to coordinating the 13 demonstration projects, the NACI will build a national partnership program and an asthma championship program.