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Targeting Asthma in Chicago: Community Stories* FREE TO VIEW

Whitney W. Addington, MD, FCCP; Kevin B. Weiss, MD
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*From the Rush Primary Care Institute (Drs. Addington and Weiss), Rush-Presbyterian–St. Luke’s Medical Center, Chicago, IL.

Correspondence to: Whitney W. Addington, MD, FCCP, Rush Primary Care Institute, 1653 W Congress Pkwy, Chicago, IL 60612

Chest. 1999;116(suppl_2):198S. doi:10.1378/chest.116.suppl_2.198S
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The problems of asthma have attracted concern, coupled with a desire to intervene at many levels of care—from voluntary organizations to community-based clinics, and from hospitals to entire health-care systems. The following series of short articles provides insight as to how some of these organizations and health-care institutions in the Chicago area are responding to the problem of asthma morbidity. The programs and activities described in these narratives have not undergone the rigor of formal study and evaluation. Rather, they emphasize that much of the local effort to improve asthma care is occurring outside the scope of academic or scholarly initiatives.

These stories are by no means a comprehensive review of all the asthma activities in Chicago. Instead, they are a selection of stories that have been chosen to give the reader a feel for the depth of these efforts—the various layers of community response. Hopefully, these stories will inspire others both to learn from the struggles and to replicate the successes. Perhaps some of these stories will inspire others to conduct formal studies of these practical, sometimes novel strategies for improving care for persons with asthma.

The first two narratives explore how two voluntary community organizations, the Chicago Health Corps and the American Red Cross of Greater Chicago, have addressed the need for asthma education. The next two narratives describe the efforts of two inner-city health clinics, The Lawndale Christian Health Center and the Infant Welfare Society, to develop and implement services that are specifically targeted to patients with asthma. Next are the stories of two hospitals: Bethany Hospital, a community hospital located in an area of Chicago known to have extremely high rates of asthma mortality; and Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke’s Medical Center, an academic medical center whose community-based asthma program began with a desire to help medical students reach out into the community. The last two narratives describe the experiences of two larger health-care organizations—Advocate Health Care, a nonprofit hospital system, and United HealthCare of Illinois, a for-profit managed care organization—in their attempts to improve asthma care for the communities they serve.




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