School Based Asthma Therapy Helping Students Better Manage Asthma

October 10, 2016

When 9-year-old Anila, who attends Fairmoor Elementary in Columbus City Schools, experienced increased asthma symptoms, the School Based Asthma Therapy team collaborated with her primary care physician and mom to make changes to her care plan. Designed to help keep students out of the emergency department and in their classrooms, School Based Asthma Therapy has successfully helped many high-risk asthma patients like Anila better manage their asthma symptoms. Anila is now entering her third year in the program.

The Nationwide Children’s Hospital program enrolled 286 students for the 2015-16 school year. The team has already reached that number thus far for this school year and is still enrolling central Ohio students. Asthma Control Test (ACT) scores have improved by 37% overall since the inception of the program, with median scores increasing from 16 at enrollment to 22 by the end of last school year (a score of 20 or higher indicates good asthma control).

“School Nurses make the connection between the SBAT team and Primary Care doctors to identify students with asthma symptoms, provide education, and communicate how therapy is working, said Lisa Fleege, RN, school nurse at Fairmoor Elementary. “Students and families learn to identify when asthma is well controlled-then students feel better during the school day, have better attendance, and are no longer limited by their condition.”

The School Based Asthma Therapy team collaborates with the school nurse and the asthma care provider to design a plan for students with high-risk asthma to receive asthma prevention medications at school, follow-up with students and educate staff and parents.

“Working closely with school nurses, we have shown a 50% reduction in asthma related emergency department visits and over 75% drop in asthma related hospitalizations compared to the previous year for the students enrolled in School Based Asthma Therapy,” said Beth Allen, MD, Nationwide Children’s pulmonologist and founder of the program.

“This program keeps the asthma management in the patient’s medical home, and provides the patient’s medical home with an extra resource to improve patient compliance,” said William Long, MD, associate administrative medical director and community physician at Nationwide Children’s. “It is also part of Nationwide Children’s and Partners for Kids mission to help keep kids in our community well.

“This program has helped provide our primary care practice with additional resources to enhance the care for our patients to keep them healthier at school and home,” said Jennifer Hayes, nurse practitioner with Childcare Consultants.

Students can be referred by school personnel, primary care physicians, asthma specialists or any other care providers the child may see. Learn more and enroll here:

About Nationwide Children's Hospital

Named to the Top 10 Honor Roll on U.S. News & World Report’s 2019-20 list of “Best Children’s Hospitals,” Nationwide Children’s Hospital is one of America’s largest not-for-profit freestanding pediatric health care systems providing wellness, preventive, diagnostic, treatment and rehabilitative care for infants, children and adolescents, as well as adult patients with congenital disease. Nationwide Children’s has a staff of more than 13,000 providing state-of-the-art pediatric care during more than 1.5 million patient visits annually. As home to the Department of Pediatrics of The Ohio State University College of Medicine, Nationwide Children’s physicians train the next generation of pediatricians and pediatric specialists. The Abigail Wexner Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital is one of the Top 10 National Institutes of Health-funded freestanding pediatric research facilities. More information is available at