Asthma Week

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Asthma Week


Welcome Message

Advances in medical care, disease evaluation options and pharmacologic therapeutics have paved the way to improve health outcomes among many persons affected by asthma. However, health disparities continue to pose ongoing barriers towards achieving equitable health outcomes among racial and ethnic minorities and across socioeconomic strata. The impact of health disparities among persons with asthma can be devastating in that they are often expressed in the daily symptom experiences of individuals in a way that lessens their quality of life. Disparities in asthma also contribute to the greater incidence of asthma, emergency department visits, hospitalizations and unnecessary mortality among non-Hispanic Black and Puerto Rican populations compared to Whites. The social determinants of health contribute to health disparities and are considered to be the circumstances in which people are born, live, and work as well as the systems put in place to support health care. These circumstances are in turn shaped by a wider set of forces: economics, social policies, and politics (World Health Organization, 2013). Social determinants of health contribute to the health disparities of asthma and are represented by individual, provider, health system, environmental, and political level factors. Therefore, efforts to eliminate health disparities must be guided by an organized, comprehensive multi-level framework such as the Social-Ecological Model.  This framework encourages a patient centered approach and links asthma care across clinical and nonclinical sectors. Health care teams should be multidisciplinary and inclusive of non-medical professionals such as community health workers. This approach must be informed by science, supported by policy and prioritized in practice. While many questions remain regarding evidence based best practices and implementation strategies for changes in health care settings and systems necessary to eliminate health disparities, there is hope in the growing momentum within this area of research, policy and practice.

The American Thoracic Society (ATS) recognizes the importance and public health impact of the asthma epidemic.  The Society is committed to funding asthma-related research to better understand and treat the disease and to lessen the burden of health disparities. The ATS is focusing on asthma this week to educate patients and caregivers and to encourage the scientific community to accelerate innovative asthma research and move the field closer to a cure.


Jay Kolls, MD
Professor of Medicine and Pediatrics
John W. Deming Endowed Chair in Internal Medicine
Director, Center for Translational Research in Infection and Inflammation Tulane School of Medicine


Wanda Gibson-Scipio, PhD, RN
Associate Professor (Clinical)
Co-Program Director, Michigan Area Health Education Center


Tonya Winders
Allergy and Asthma Network President & Chief Executive Officer 
Member, ATS Public Advisory Roundtable

ATS Asthma & Allergies Week Partner

Allergy & Asthma Network is the leading nonprofit patient education and advocacy organization for people with asthma, allergies and related conditions. Our patient-centered network unites individuals, families, healthcare professionals, industry and government decision makers to improve health and quality of life for Americans with asthma and allergies. We specialize in making accurate medical information relevant and understandable to all while promoting evidence-based standards of care.