School-based identification of asthma in a low-income population

Arturo Brito, Gwen Wurm, Alan M. Delamater, Catherine L. Grus, Cristina Lopez-Hernandez, E. Brooks Applegate, Adam Wanner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


The increase in the prevalence, morbidity, and mortality of asthma among children over the last decade has been well documented, especially among low-income minority children. Hypotheses for the increases in morbidity and mortality include limited access to primary care services and the failure to recognize the presence and severity of asthma. The University of Miami Pediatric Mobile Clinic (Mobile Clinic) Asthma Intervention Program is designed to identify underserved asthmatic children at school and offer them culturally sensitive care. Nine elementary schools with low income, predominantly Hispanic and African-American populations regularly served by the Mobile Clinic, were chosen for study participation. All 5,800 students who were enrolled in kindergarten through third grade were given letters at the time of registration by their homeroom teachers about the asthma program. Caretakers who returned the questionnaire and reported that the student had asthma symptoms were invited to have the student undergo a medical evaluation in the Mobile Clinic. Over a 2-year period, caretakers of 423 students (7.3% of all students) expressed an interest in further evaluating their child's respiratory health. Of these, we enrolled and evaluated 154 in the Mobile Clinic's Asthma Intervention Program. The Mobile Clinic physicians identified 145 of the enrollees as having asthma. These results indicate that in elementary schools serving predominantly low-income minority populations, a large fraction of the asthmatic population (estimated prevalence, 6-10%) can be identified by a school-based letter. Further, in a subset of asthmatic students (children of interested caretakers), there is good agreement between caretaker responses and physician diagnosis of asthma. Since school attendance is mandatory, school-based methods may be an effective method for identifying low-income children with asthma. (C) 2000 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)297-301
Number of pages5
JournalPediatric pulmonology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 2000


  • Asthma
  • Children
  • Epidemiology
  • Minorities
  • Population study
  • Prevalence
  • Schools

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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