Each spring, members of the Partners Asthma Center present the “Learn and Teach About Asthma” course, an opportunity for health care providers across Boston and the surrounding area to listen to lectures and participate in activities about asthma and related lung diseases. This year’s event on May 30 at the Reggie Lewis Athletic Center marked the 10th anniversary of the course.
“We had a diverse audience this year, including many nurses, respiratory therapists and medical assistants from a variety of hospitals, community health centers, schools and other organizations, which made for a great program,” said Jacqueline Rodriguez-Louis, MPH, MEd, program leader for Community Outreach at the Partners Asthma Center, who planned the event with BWH pulmonologist Christopher Fanta, MD.
The Partners Asthma Center—a collaboration between allergists and pulmonologists at BWH and other Partners hospitals—is focused on providing outstanding care for patients with asthma and developing new knowledge to help improve asthma treatment options. The goal of the course is to help allied health care providers improve care for their patients by becoming better informed about asthma and more well-versed in explaining the disease and its treatment options to their patients. The course included discussion of the underlying biology of asthma, asthma triggers in the home and resources that providers can share with their patients to minimize their exposure to these triggers.
“It’s so important to let professionals know what’s available in their community so they can share these resources with the people who need them,” said Rodriguez-Louis. “Asthma rates tend to be higher in lower-income neighborhoods, so it’s especially important for residents of these communities to know what resources exist.”
Added Fanta: “Our Learn and Teach course is unique in two ways: it provides asthma education for allied health care professionals who often do not have teaching programs made available to them, including community health workers, medical assistants and day care providers. And it is offered simultaneously in Spanish and in English, making possible quality education for medical personnel who learn best in their native language rather than in English.”
Rodriguez-Louis was thrilled with the turnout of this year’s event. She said the most rewarding aspect has been working with community partners and participants over the years to provide an asthma management program that will make a difference for patients.