South MountainMiddle School

SMMS Partners with Community Health Organizations to Raise Asthma Awareness

South Mountain Middle School Partners with Community Health Organizations to Raise Asthma Awareness
Posted on 04/29/2019
South Mountain Middle School (SMMS) has partnered with The American Lung Association, AmeriHealth Caritas Partnership, and AmeriHealth Caritas Pennsylvania to bring education to those in the community around asthma management.  

CaritasOn April 30, 2019, the American Lung Association will be hosting Asthma Awareness Night from 4:00-6:00 PM at South Mountain Middle School. Nearly 280 students and their parents are expected to attend. The event’s aim is to educate parents and caregivers about the basics of asthma, including warning signs, symptoms, medication use and how to eliminate asthma triggers at home. Asthma Awareness Night is open to all students, their parents, and caregivers.      

Asthma Awareness Night will also feature presentations from Dr. Kimberly Brown of The Children’s Clinic at Lehigh Valley Health Network and John Keith, the American Lung Association’s director of health promotions. 
At a second event on May 23, 2019, SMMS will host the Healthy Hoops program. Healthy Hoops is a community-based, chronic disease intervention program that uses basketball as a platform to teach participants how to better understand and effectively manage their asthma and associated health conditions, including obesity, malnutrition, and the progression of cardiovascular risk factors.  

Students will participate in this health education program during the regular school day. The program will include information about lung health, asthma, nutrition, tobacco, and e-cigarettes; basketball clinics and special health entertainment by Sterlen Barr and Rapping About Prevention.

Asthma is a serious chronic lung disease that affects nearly 25 million people in the United States, including more than 7 million children. Although asthma affects people across many demographics, it occurs at disproportionately higher rates among Latinos. In the Allentown School District, nearly 65 percent of all students identify as Hispanic or Latino. Latino children are 40 percent more likely to die from asthma than non-Latino whites. Nearly 10 percent of Latino children under the age of 18 suffer from chronic respiratory illness. 

Beyond South Mountain, The American Lung Association, and AmeriHealth Caritas Pennsylvania has worked with the broader Allentown School District Community to educate students and staff in other ways. In November 2018 a continuing education program was held at the Allentown YMCA with Allentown School District nurses and health educators to help better manage students with asthma in our schools. 

The Allentown School District developed several strategic actions around increasing access to school-based physical and emotional healthcare as outlined in the Strategic Framework. The actions include engaging ASD staff in professional learning activities that build their capacity to foster safe and healthy learning environments for all students and developing a comprehensive student health initiative through community health partnerships across all schools.