Asthma Mobile Health Program: A Game Changer

July 18, 2022

In the Chicago area, about 25% of all pediatric patients are treated for asthma, the most common chronic disease in children. Those who bear the greatest burden from asthma are often children from populations that have been historically marginalized. Because children with asthma are more likely to miss school, asthma can compound the disadvantages of poverty. Missed workdays by parents needing to stay home to care for their children with asthma also widens the disparities experienced by the family.

“The Asthma Mobile Health Program is truly a game-changer,” says Jacinta Staples, MSN, RN, Director of Community-Clinic Collaborations at the Patrick M. Magoon Institute for Healthy Communities. “Many of the patient families that we see in the hospital come from disinvested communities with limited resources. Unfortunately, some of the families are not able to even make it to our hospital for various reasons. Bringing high-quality asthma care out to the communities is making a real difference to these children and families.”

In October 2021, the Mobile Health Program began providing asthma care in the Belmont Cragin neighborhood to increase access to care in communities where childhood asthma is prevalent. Each patient family is seen by a multidisciplinary team that includes a pulmonary provider, asthma nurse, asthma educator and social worker.

Follow-up visits help children and families maintain their understanding of asthma and treatment plans and ensure providers can monitor patients and adjust therapy as needed. One parent was moved to tears because she was so relieved to have Lurie Children’s asthma specialty care made more accessible for her child who had been struggling with recurrent wheezing.

The Mobile Health Program provides a range of other healthcare services in addition to the High-Risk Asthma Clinic. It brings high quality clinical services and multifaceted culturally informed health promotion directly into Chicago communities. The Mobile Health Program provides services delivered by Lurie Children’s physicians, nurses, and allied health professionals working out of an easily accessible mobile unit. Services include school physicals, sports physicals, immunizations, well-child visits, COVID-19 testing and vaccinations, STI/HIV screening, and asthma care. These services take place at several different community partner settings, based on community need, as well as Chicago Public Schools. The Mobile Health Program is supported by a grant from the Robert R. McCormick Foundation and gifts from the Dorothea Berggren Charitable Foundation, an early supporter and catalyst for the program.

Learn more about the Asthma Mobile Health Program in the video below: 

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