Forum Session

Bad News/Good News in the Asthma Epidemic: Prevalence Jumps Sharply, But Symptoms Can Be Controlled
September 26, 2000


Richard Hegner


This meeting examined the escalation in asthma prevalence and inquired into the root causes of both asthma per se and the epidemic. Particular attention was given to subpopulations at high risk for asthma — including racial and ethnic minorities, the poor, and residents of urban areas — and the limitations the disease places on individual lives when not properly managed. Speakers described model programs for the control of asthma and discussed issues related to provider and patient education. The economic implications of the asthma epidemic as well as potential cost savings from better control of the disease were also explored. The development and dissemination of the national Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Asthma, developed under the aegis of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) of the National Institutes of Health were reviewed, as were asthma-related research activities of the institutes. Finally, possible public policy interventions were discussed, prominent among them the need for better surveillance of the disease at the state and local levels.


Noreen M. Clark, PhD, Dean, School of Public Health, University of Michigan; Robinson Fulwood, PhD, MSPH, Senior Manager, Public Health Program Development, Office of Prevention, Education, and Control, NHLBI; Marielena Lara, MD, MPH, Director, UCLA/RAND Program for Latino Children with Asthma, and Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, UCLA School of Medicine; Stephen C. Redd, MD, Branch Chief, Medical Epidemiology, National Center for Environmental Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Virginia Taggart, MPH, Division of Lung Diseases, NHLBI; and Kevin Weiss, MD, MPH, Director, Center for Health Services Research, Rush Primary Care Institute.

Related Materials

More information available in the accompanying Background Paper.

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