Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital of NewYork-Presbyterian Wins $2 Million Pediatric Asthma Grant from Merck

WIN for Asthma to Reduce Childhood Asthma in Northern Manhattan by 25 Percent and by 50 Percent for High-Risk Patients

Dec 20, 2005


Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital and the Ambulatory Care Network (ACN) of NewYork-Presbyterian have been awarded a $2 million grant from Merck Childhood Asthma Network Inc. (MCAN) to improve asthma care for children in the Washington Heights and Inwood neighborhoods of New York City. The four-year grant will fund a new program called WIN for Asthma (WIN stands for Washington Heights/Inwood) that will work to reduce asthma-related emergency-department visits, hospitalizations, and school absences by 25 percent, and by 50 percent for high-risk children.

Thirty percent of those 18 years and younger in Inwood and Washington Heights, or 14,000, have asthma. The national average is 6.2 percent, up from 3.6 percent in 1980. Asthma is the third-ranking cause of hospitalization among children younger than 15, and one of the most common health-related causes of school absenteeism, accounting for nearly 15 million lost days of school annually.

"While significant progress has already been made, the medically underserved neighborhoods of Washington Heights and Inwood have nearly five times the national asthma rate. One reason is that often only acute episodes of asthma are treated during visits to the emergency department. We are grateful to Merck Childhood Asthma Network for helping us create WIN for Asthma. Our goal is to improve community-wide asthma prevention by building a broad community partnership in order to ultimately prevail in the battle against childhood asthma," says Dr. Mary McCord, principal investigator and associate attending pediatrician at Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital of NewYork-Presbyterian. She is associate clinical professor of pediatrics at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and the Mailman School of Public Health of Columbia University. Dr. McCord is also co-director of the Community Pediatrics program and serves as principal investigator for the Healthy Schools/Healthy Families program funded by the Federal Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).

WIN for Asthma is a partnership between NewYork-Presbyterian's Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital and its Ambulatory Care Network with the Mailman School of Public Health, local schools and day-care centers, community pediatricians, community groups, a national child-health improvement organization, and government agencies. The project will leverage existing community ties through organizations including the Northern Manhattan Asthma Basics for Children (ABC) initiative, a federally funded group based at the Mailman School.

WIN for Asthma's goal is to ensure that 85 percent of children with persistent or poorly controlled asthma receive optimal asthma care, care-coordination services, control of environmental triggers (both in school and at home), and education for patients and their parents about their condition and ways to treat the condition. Asthma is a chronic condition that, while currently incurable, is treatable with remissions commonplace. Triggers that cause asthma include allergens, emotional states, climate, environmental triggers, and respiratory infections. The goal of asthma management is to prevent or minimize triggers and control symptoms through appropriate medical treatment. Effective asthma care improves quality of life for children with asthma.

WIN for Asthma will partner with all high-volume pediatric providers in the neighborhoods (including NewYork-Presbyterian's Ambulatory Care Network and Community Physicians of NewYork-Presbyterian) to train them in proven asthma care and intervention protocols. Clinicians and support staff will be trained by WIN for Asthma in a number of proven evidence-based methods to provide quality asthma care. Pediatricians will be trained in an enhanced and modified version of Physician Asthma Care Education (PACE) Program, a seminar designed to improve physician awareness, attitudes, ability, and application of communication and therapeutic skills. Support staff will be trained in Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) cycles, a method for effectively implementing change incrementally; they will also use a modified version of Creating a Medical Home for Asthma, an asthma management program to help patients stay on track with their treatment.

The program will create asthma education programs that help families adhere to their physician's treatment plan and manage their child's asthma effectively. WIN for Asthma will work with parents of children with asthma through their children's day care center or school. The initiative will conduct a thorough assessment to make sure that every child with asthma is identified at the participating centers and schools, and that their parents are offered asthma education using materials specially developed for this community by ABC and other programs specifically for inner city communities. A graduated level of support and education will be offered, depending on the severity of the child's asthma.

WIN for Asthma and its partners also will help ensure asthma-safe environments at home, day care or school, and throughout the community. Smoke-free environments will be encouraged by offering a smoking-cessation program.

The program will focus on the communities of Washington Heights and Inwood. After two years, the program will be expanded to include Harlem.

WIN was one of five asthma grants from Merck Childhood Asthma Network announced in November, totaling $10 million. Grant recipients were selected from more than 160 respondents to a Call for Proposals by MCAN.

Co-principal investigators include Daniel Hyman, MD, chief medical officer of the NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital Ambulatory Care Network (ACN) and assistant professor of pediatrics at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons; Sally Findley, PhD, professor of clinical population and family health (in pediatrics) at the Mailman School of Public Health and director of the school-based activities for the Asthma Basics for Children Initiative; and Adriana Matiz, MD, assistant clinical professor of pediatrics at Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital of NewYork-Presbyterian.

For more information, interested parties may call 212-305-0902.

Merck Childhood Asthma Network (MCAN)

The Merck Childhood Asthma Network (MCAN) will aim to function as a leading national expert and advocate on care for children in the United States who have asthma; support four-year childhood asthma programs in selected communities around the country, which will be rigorously evaluated; create evidence-based childhood asthma program models for potential national replication; increase linkages among health care providers, schools, communities, patients, parents, and other caregivers; improve health and related outcomes such as access to high-quality care and improve quality of life for children who have asthma; and decrease the overall asthma-related burden of health care utilization and costs (e.g., emergency department visits, hospitalizations).

NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital

NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital based in New York City is the nation's largest not-for-profit, non-sectarian hospital, with 2,344 beds. It provides state-of-the-art inpatient, ambulatory, and preventive care in all areas of medicine at five major centers: NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center, Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital of NewYork-Presbyterian, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Allen Pavilion, and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Westchester Division. One of the largest and most comprehensive health-care institutions in the world, the Hospital is committed to excellence in patient care, research, education, and community service. It ranks among the top ten in U.S.News & World Report's guide to "America's Best Hospitals," has the greatest number of physicians listed in New York magazine's "Best Doctors" issue, and is included among Solucient's top 15 major teaching hospitals. The Hospital has academic affiliations with two of the nation's leading medical colleges: Joan and Sanford I. Weill Medical College of Cornell University and Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.

The NewYork-Presbyterian Healthcare System which includes acute-care and community hospitals, long-term care facilities, ambulatory sites, and specialty institutes is committed to providing high-quality, cost-effective, and conveniently accessible care to communities throughout the tri-state metropolitan region. The System serves one in four patients in the New York metropolitan area.

The Mailman School of Public Health

The only accredited school of public health in New York City, and among the first in the nation Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health provides instruction and research opportunities to more than 850 graduate students in pursuit of masters and doctoral degrees. Its students and more than 250 multi-disciplinary faculty engage in research and service in the city, nation, and around the world, concentrating on biostatistics, environmental health sciences, epidemiology, health policy and management, population and family health, and sociomedical sciences.

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