This article describes the evaluation of a comprehensive school-based asthma management program in an inner-city, largely African-American school system. All 54 elementary schools (combined enrollment 13,247 students) from a single urban school system participated in this study. Schools were randomly divided between immediate and delayed intervention programs. The intervention consisted of 3 separate educational programs (for school faculty/staff, students with asthma, and peers without asthma) and medical management for the children with asthma (including an Individual Asthma Action Plan, medications, and peakflow meters). Children with asthma were identified using a case detection program and 736 were enrolled into the intervention study. No significant differences were observed in school absences, grade point average, emergency room visits, or hospitalizations between the immediate and delayed intervention groups. Significant increases in knowledge were observed in the immediate intervention group. This study of a school-based asthma management education and medical intervention program did not show any differences between the intervention and control groups on morbidity outcomes. Our experience leads us to believe that such measures are difficult to impact and are not always reliable. Future researchers should be aware of the problems associated with using such measures. In addition, connecting children with a regular source of health care in this population was difficult. More intensive methods of medical management, such as school-based health centers or supervised asthma therapy, might prove more effective in inner-city schools.
Absenteeism, African Americans, Asthma, Case Management, Child, Educational Status, Female, Health Education, Humans, Inservice Training, Male, Patient Education as Topic, Peer Group, Program Evaluation, School Health Services, Urban Population