The 2015 North Carolina Asthma Summit, an annual gathering of asthma clinicians and community health workers sponsored by the Asthma Alliance of North Carolina and the North Carolina Asthma Program, met in Burlington on March 3 and 4, 2015. As part of the Summit, ERP educators Neasha Graves and Megan Hoert Hughes conducted the 6-hour “Healthy Homes for Community Health Workers” training, which is certified by the National Center for Healthy Housing and designed to inform professionals about environmental health hazards they may encounter while conducting home visits of their patients. Throughout this interactive training, Hughes and Graves shared information on mold, pests, lead, volatile organic compounds, radon, tobacco smoke and other hazards that exacerbate asthma and other health conditions. The 95 participants engaged in a mock home assessment to identify some of these hazards and practiced communicating this information through role-playing. The UNC educators also partnered with the NC DHHS Tobacco Branch’s director of communications, Ann Staples, to share case studies on communicating about smoking, including e-cigarettes, as a major hazard for asthma patients.
UNC’s role in the annual event continued on the second day with pediatric pulmonologist David Peden giving the keynote address entitled “Population Health and Bridging Community-Clinical Connections”. Dr. Peden, Andrews Distinguished Professor of Pediatrics, Director of the UNC Center for Environmental Medicine, Asthma and Lung Biology and Senior Associate Dean for Translational Research, shared emerging research on tobacco smoke, ambient air pollution, obesity and psychosocial stress as factors affecting asthma outcomes.
Funding for UNC’s participation in the NC Asthma Summit was provided by the NC DHHS Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program (CDC, grant number 1UE1EH001276-01) and the UNC Center for Environmental Health and Susceptibility (NIEHS, grant number P30 ES010126).