The University of Arizona Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health is leading a stock albuterol program in the Sunnyside Unified School District where 87 percent of the population is Latino and 28.3 percent of children under the age of 12 live in poverty.
[Photo Caption: Dr. Lynn Gerald, University of Arizona College of Public Health (center) and Ms. Donna Bryson, American Lung Association of Tucson (left) accept the award for Innovations in Health Equality presented by Dr. Patricia Finn, President of the American Thoracic Society (right) at the ATS International Conference in San Diego, Calif. in May. Photo by Steve Schneider ©2014 American Thoracic Society]
A school-based asthma program led by the University of Arizona Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health in Tucson is receiving national attention.
The program is expected to reduce asthma-related morbidity in students by implementing a district-wide asthma policy to include standing orders for administration of stock albuterol in the Sunnyside Unified School District, which consists of 22 schools that serve pre-kindergarten through grade 12.
“We expect that the stock albuterol program and standing orders will reduce asthma-related morbidity outcomes such as 911 calls due to asthma, the number of children sent home due to asthma, asthma-related absences, and class time missed due to time spent in the health office for asthma symptoms,” said Dr. Lynn B. Gerald, the Canyon Ranch Endowed Chair and professor of health promotion sciences at the UA Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health.
The American Thoracic Society has honored the UA College of Public Health, the school district and the American Lung Association of Tucson with the award for Innovations in Health Equality. The award highlights and supports individuals and programs that aim to reduce the differences in the quality of health and health care across different populations.
As the associate director for clinical and health outcomes sciences at the UA’s Arizona Respiratory Center, Dr. Gerald and a team of collaborators from the school district and the lung association received the award for the clinically focused initiative, “Implementation and Evaluation of a Stock Albuterol Policy for a Low-Income Minority School District”.
Dr. Gerald notes that 87 percent of the district’s population is Hispanic or Latino, 4.1 percent Native American, 2.4 percent Black, and 0.5 percent Asian. Further, among children under the age of 12, 28.3 percent live in poverty with 57.5 percent living below 200 percent of the federal poverty level, and that health care access is difficult in this community.