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  December 11, 2000

Federal Grant to Improve
Asthma Care for Children

A three-year, $1.4 million federal grant to the UConn Health Center and a community-based Medicaid managed care organization will help improve care for more than 600 children with asthma from Bridgeport, New Haven and Waterbury.

Children in the study will be enrollees with Community Health Network of Connecticut Inc. (CHNCT), a not-for-profit managed care company owned by eight federally qualified health centers. Participating children, ages 5-18, will come from underserved areas and receive care at one of four sites in Bridgeport, New Haven and Waterbury. The study will look at the impact of best-practice asthma care for children through affordable technologies and family-focused educational interventions.

Funding for this project was recently announced by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Health Center researcher Judith Fifield, an associate professor in the department of family medicine and director of the department's research programs, is the principal investigator for the project. She will work closely with Community Health Network.

"This grant allows us to build on our previous work with the CHNCT, with the ultimate goal of improving care for high-risk children with asthma," Fifield says.

Goals for this study include:

  • establishing educational interventions that include family members;

  • obtaining peer input to the guidelines;

  • building on established collaborations to improve outcomes for children.

"The asthma initiative is an outgrowth of a pilot program previously conducted by the UConn Health Center and our health plan," says Elizabeth Roche Smith, medical director for CHNCT. Cornell Scott, CHNCT board chairman and executive director of one of the sites chosen for the study, notes that "partnerships like these allow health centers to gain valuable information about the population they serve, while assisting us in developing useful protocols for asthma intervention."

Maureen McGuire