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School Partnerships Empower Asthma Patients

Thursday, May 17 2018

Henry Family

As a full-time student, teacher and mom of four kids, Chavonne Henry has a lot on her plate. Her children have been treated at Children’s Hospital Colorado for everything from broken bones to a congenital heart defect, and all four of them have asthma. Yet Chavonne says she’s always felt supported.

“Children’s Hospital Colorado has given me resources to help me raise my children,” says Chavonne. “It’s been a major team effort.”

Those resources recently became even more accessible. Last year, her youngest daughters, Ahvion and Aleya, began participating in the Children’s Colorado Step Up program.

Through the schoolbased program, Ahvion and Aleya meet with a Children’s Colorado asthma educator at their local elementary school. After a clinical assessment, the girls review their asthma triggers and discuss what to do if either of them has an attack. Since joining the program, the sisters have had fewer asthma episodes.

“It’s made Ahvion and Aleya more aware of what their triggers are, so they can advocate for themselves,” says Chavonne. “They now understand what having asthma means, and they know what to do.”

A joint effort between Children’s Colorado, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), and local school districts, the Step Up program has helped hundreds of kids to better manage their asthma with impressive results. Data show that Step Up participants had a 20 percent increase in medication adherence and a 23 percent decrease in asthma-related school absences of five or more days.

“It’s great to have someone at the school monitoring my daughters,” says Chavonne. “The Step Up program has also helped me to build connection and trust with the school.”

For Chavonne and others, the program isn’t only about preventing the next asthma attack – it’s about accessing the resources and support to be the best parent she can be for her family.

“I’ve learned that it’s OK to ask for help,” says Chavonne. “I don’t know where we’d be without Children’s Hospital Colorado.”

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