Recently, the US Task Force on Environmental Health Risks and Safety Risks to Children released the Coordinated Federal Action Plan to Reduce Racial and Ethnic Asthma Disparities. In response, Floyd Malveaux, MD, PhD, Executive Director of the Merck Childhood Asthma Network, Inc, (MCAN) expressed his organization's support for the initiative. In an interview with Pulmonary Reviews, Dr. Malveaux gave a brief history of MCAN, explained how MCAN can help advance the goals of the federal initiative, and suggested ways that pulmonary specialists can do their part to improve care and reduce disparities (listen to the audiocast).
"We know how to manage this disease," Dr. Malveaux asserted. "I think it's now time for us to bring all of the tools, knowledge, and resources together so that we can start to close the gap that currently exists."
The federal Action Plan is an outcome of the collaborative interagency Asthma Disparities Working Group, co-chaired by the Department of Health and Human Services, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
The goal of the Action Plan is to reduce the burden caused by asthma, especially among children, and in particular, minority children and children with family incomes below the poverty level. It emphasizes the following four priority actions:
- Reduce barriers to the implementation of guidelines-based asthma management
- Enhance capacity to deliver integrated, comprehensive asthma care to children in communities with racial and ethnic asthma disparities
- Improve capacity to identify the children most impacted by asthma disparities
- Accelerate efforts to identify and test interventions that may prevent the onset of asthma among ethnic and racial minority children