Regional Asthma Management & Prevention (RAMP) and the California School-Based Health Alliance are pleased to announce the development of a new tool!

Asthma Environmental Intervention Guide for School-Based Health Centers
Asthma affects over 7 million children nationwide and is one of the leading causes of school absenteeism. Even children with the best medically managed asthma will continue to suffer if they face environmental asthma triggers in their home, school, and outdoor environments. School-Based Health Centers (SBHCs) are uniquely positioned to reduce environmental asthma triggers, given their role linking the student, school, and home. Learn how ten SBHCs have successfully addressed environmental triggers as part of their comprehensive asthma care strategies.

Regional Asthma Management & Prevention (RAMP) and the California School-Based Health Alliance, with a grant from the US Environmental Protection Agency, are working together to increase engagement of SBHCs in the environmental management of asthma. Through this partnership, we delivered training on environmental asthma triggers across the country. The Asthma Environmental Intervention Guide for School-Based Health Centers was developed to help SBHCs provide more comprehensive asthma care to patients.

Additionally, two-year-long learning collaboratives were launched, which supported 14 SBHCs across the country with training, technical assistance, and stipends to implement small-scale environmental interventions. The case studies highlight success stories of six SBHCs that participated in our learning collaboratives, along with four SBHCs leaders in asthma management, and served as great sources of motivation for our work.

Read our case studies and learn how you can improve asthma care for patients.

The purpose of this guide is to support school-based health center staff in leading or supporting evidence-based strategies and promising practices to reduce exposure to environmental asthma triggers. Although there is a broad array of evidence-based interventions to address asthma triggers, many people with asthma continue to be exposed to the factors that make their asthma worse. School-based health centers (SBHCs) are uniquely positioned to address this gap to help children breathe easier. While many SBHCs across the country are already playing a key role in assisting students in managing their asthma by providing quality clinical care and education, SBHCs can also be leaders in managing the environmental factors that make asthma worse.

The guide describes the relationship between asthma and several environmental asthma triggers and shares scientific evidence that SBHC staff can cite when educating others on the need to address environmental asthma triggers. Five sections follow this, each tackling a strategy, or broad category of intervention, that SBHC staff could lead or support.

They include:

  • Education
  • Case Management
  • Improving Indoor Air Quality in Schools
  • Improving the Students' Home Environments
  • Improving Outdoor Air Quality Around the School and Community

Each section provides an overview of the type of intervention, points to specific tools and resources, and suggests how SBHC staff can lead or support implementation. The array of interventions is intended to serve as a "menu" from which SBHC can choose depending on their interests, resources, and patient population's particular needs. While a comprehensive approach that works across settings and utilizes multiple strategies is likely most effective for reducing the burden of asthma, any step that SBHCs can take to minimize exposure to environmental asthma triggers will help students breathe easier. Reading this guide is the first step!