The Science Journal of the American Association for Respiratory Care

2011 OPEN FORUM Abstracts

IMPLEMENTING ASTHMA STRATEGIES IN SCHOOLS THROUGH DEVELOPING COMMUNITY PARTNERSHIPS.

Kathleen Hernlen, Susan Whiddon, R. Randall Baker; Respiratory Therapy, Georgia Health Sciences University, Augusta, GA

Background: The East Central Health District (ECHD) of Georgia has an asthma death rate that is significantly higher than the state and national death rates for children under the age of 14. A 2009 study assessed the status for implementing asthma management strategies in ECHD schools using the National Heart Lung Blood Institute's "How Asthma Friendly is Your School" survey. Forty one of the 112 (36.6%) schools returned the surveys. 14% of the schools reported they had a written Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) management plan. The purpose if this study was to educate and assist schools in the development and implementation of IAQ management plans Methods: Three of the superintendents of the 7 school districts that participated in the 2009 study agree to participate in this project. They suggested a school from their district that had either a high number of asthmatic students or known air quality problems. Principals were educated about the need for and goals of IAQ management and the EPA's IAQ Tools for Schools kit. The process was explained to the faculty and staff of each school and volunteers were recruited for exhaled nitric oxide (eNO) measurements taken pre- and post- implementation of the IAQ plan. An IAQ walk thru team was formed at each school consisting of the principal, representatives from the maintenance, custodial or physical plant and GHSU investigators. A walk thru of each class room was performed. Results: Pre eNO measurements of 76 teachers at the 3 schools were obtained with an average eNO of 16.09 ppb. Post eNO measurements are in process. The IAQ teams assessed 115 class rooms in the three schools. IAQ team members identified and discussed barriers to IAQ management with each teacher during the walkthrough along with measures that could be taken to improve IAQ. The results and suggestions to improve IAQ were discussed with each principal and a report with recommendations to improve IAQ and a sample IAQ plan was sent to each superintendent. Conclusions: Effective non-adversarial education, positive two way communication, and input from all levels and members of the school system are essential to develop and implement a successful IAQ plan. Principals are adapting their policies to address the air quality issues found in the study. The policies will be implemented in the fall of 2011. One school district has adapted an IAQ management plan and is in the process of implementing it in all 59 schools in the district. Sponsored Research - W.G. Raoul Foundation