A recent study found that a multi-level intervention program for low-income, underserved children with asthma in rural western North Carolina resulted in decreased emergency department visits, hospitalizations, school absences and improved lung function. The study was co-authored by Karin Yeatts, PhD, research assistant professor of epidemiology at UNC’s Gillings School of Global Public Health.
The study, titled “The Regional Asthma Disease Management Program (RADMP) for low income underserved children in rural western North Carolina: a National Asthma Control Initiative Demonstration Project” was published in the Journal of Asthma.
The research was conducted in 14 childcare facilities in a 20-county area and comprised 50 children who were followed for two years. The study constitutes the first published results from the 13 National Asthma Control Initiative (NACI) demonstration projects.
Participating children experienced statistically significant decreases in asthma-related emergency room visits, hospital admissions and school absences. In addition, their lung function increased and exhaled nitric oxide decreased, indicating a reduction in airway inflammation. Asthma healthcare costs avoided were estimated to exceed $750,000 for the 50 children in the study.
“For such low cost interventions we saw substantial improvements in the lives of the children and notable cost savings,” Yeatts says. “It really looked like a win-win for children and the health care system.”