Developing, Implementing, and Evaluating a School-Centered Asthma Program: Step-Up Asthma Program

Deborah R. Liptzin, Melanie C. Gleason, Lisa C. Cicutto, Chris L. Cleveland, Donna J. Shocks, Martha K. White, Anna V. Faino, Stanley J. Szefler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Background Asthma is a significant health problem among children: 9.3% of children in the United States suffer from asthma. Children with persistent asthma in inner cities have increased health care utilization, worse health care outcomes, increased school absences, and worse academic performance. Objective We sought to create and evaluate a school-centered asthma program to reduce asthma morbidity and create asthma-friendly schools. Methods We developed, implemented, and evaluated the Step-Up Asthma Program, a multidisciplinary school-centered asthma program. The program was designed as an outreach program with asthma counselors as a bridge between subspecialty asthma care, primary care providers, school nurses, and children with asthma. The core components of the program involve identifying children with asthma, providing evidence-based asthma education, and case management. Students’ asthma knowledge, inhaler technique, and number of asthma exacerbations were evaluated over a 2-year period (2010-2012) as a pre-post study. Results A total of 252 students enrolled in the Step-Up Asthma Program over a 2-year period. Significant improvements were noted in number of asthma action plans, rescue medications at school, and asthma controllers. Program participants had significant improvements in asthma knowledge scores (P < .001) and inhaler technique (P < .0001). There were significant reductions in asthma exacerbations defined as oral steroid courses, urgent care visits, and missed school days (P < .05) that persisted over time. Conclusions A guideline-based school-centered asthma program can significantly reduce asthma morbidity. The asthma counselor is the cornerstone of the program, providing asthma education and care coordination. The Step-Up Asthma Program is in its 10th year, and we believe the key elements of this program can be implemented in other school systems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)972-979.e1
JournalJournal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2016


  • Asthma
  • Case Management
  • School nursing
  • Schools


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