Colorado Asthma Coalition

Got Asthma?

CAC History

CAC Projects

The Colorado Asthma Coalition (CAC) is a consortium of healthcare professionals and community members committed to working together as a major force in improving the lives and quality of care of Coloradans living with asthma. The coalition exists solely for this mission and is not bound by any specific project or entity.

Beginning with the Asthma Summit in October 2000, the Colorado Asthma Coalition has envisioned serving as a catalyst to develop public education strategies, policies, and an advocacy agenda for asthma. In 2009, the Colorado Asthma Coalition led the process of revising the state Asthma Plan.

The Colorado Asthma Coalition, under the administration of the American Lung Association in Colorado, utilizes an Advisory Steering Committee and the 100+ statewide stakeholders to implement the strategies outlined in the Colorado State Asthma Plan.  The state plan addresses the following goal areas:

  • Public Education and Awareness
  • Healthcare Provider Best Practices
  • School Health and Childcare
  • Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Improved Access to Healthcare

CAC Leadership

Cindy Liverance, CAC Administrator, VP of Programs-American Lung Association in Colorado

Chair - Ryan Lowe, PharmD, AE-C, Asthma Clinical Specialist, Kaiser Permanente

CAC History 

Since 2000 the Colorado Asthma Coalition (CAC), a consortium of healthcare professionals and community members, has been committed to improving the health and quality of life for Colorado children and adults impacted by asthma. The Colorado Asthma Coalition is a project of the American Lung Association in Colorado.

The mission of the CAC is to “Improve the lives and quality of care of Coloradans living with asthma.”

The CAC uses tailored environmental interventions, programming, and resource dissemination to:

  • increase awareness of asthma as a chronic but manageable disease,
  • promote standardized healthcare provider asthma guidelines and,
  • improve accessibility and quality of asthma care.

The CAC created the first and only Colorado Asthma Plan as a foundation to serve low-income families across Colorado, with a focus on populations with disparately high asthma/smoking rates and less access to consistent medical care and health messages. The CAC supports, plans and implements:

  • a training for educators on how to better care for children with asthma and create allergy-free environments,
  • a week-long camp for children with asthma from low income backgrounds,
  • the highest attended Asthma Educator Certification training in the nation and,
  • a statewide initiative to educate children, school personnel and families to effectively manage asthma within their environments.

The CAC was initially fomed in order to create the Colorado Asthma Plan. Under the supervision and lead of the American Lung Association in Colorado collaborations were formed with more than 100 Coloradans in order to develop goals and strategies related to the following work groups:

  • Provider Education and Best Practices,
  • Public Education and Awareness,
  • School Health and Child Care and,
  • Environmental and Occupational Health.

As the groups worked to put the plan together, they were mindful to consider overlapping areas of interest: surveillance, data analysis and health disparities. The work groups also emphasized coordination of strategies to maximize educational and awareness activities needed to reach underserved populations. From these work groups the Colorado Asthma Coalition was formed as well as a steering committee of this coalition consisting of the Director of the Colorado Head Start Association, Parent Educators working for Rocky Mountain Parents as Teachers Org, Qualistar Early Learning Representatives, Representatives of Spanish speaking community organizations across Colorado, the Clinical Pharmacy Specialist in Allergy at Kaiser Permanente Colorado Region, the Field Research Technician at St. Mary’s Hospital, the Asthma Educator/Respiratory Care at, Poudre Valley Hospital and the Assistant Director Pediatric Clinical Research Unit and the Regional Indoor Air Representative at the Environmental Protection Agency in Colorado.  From the development of the state plan came many other projects and goals.

CAC's shared agenda includes:

  • Increasing awareness of asthma as a chronic but manageable disease
  • Promoting healthcare provider practice that is congruent with the National Institute for Health (NIH) Expert Panel Report 3: Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Asthma
  • Providing shared advocacy that promotes accessibility and quality of asthma care, particularly for low income and disparate populations, and addresses environmental factors contributing to asthma

Current CAC Projects 

CAC Members Forum:

The CAC Members Forum is comprised of over 100 members. These members are community leaders, committed residents, health care practitioners, respiratory therapists, pharmaceutical representatives, teachers, parents, nurses and public health staff who work in tandem to create systematic and healthy change within the communities of Colorado to keep residents healthy and empowered to be their  own health advocates in relation to living with asthma.  The CAC forum provides the opportunity for members to network and create and implement sustainable asthma programming across Colorado. In addition, the CAC forum provides an outlet for members to learn what is happening in the state around asthma education, awareness and programming in areas such as research updates related to asthma, policy changes at the state and federal level around medication self-carry laws, statewide asthma guidelines and participation in creating a plan for bundling asthma as an initiative for the upcoming Health Care Reform. The outcome of the forum creates and provides best-practices to health care providers while also promoting and increasing public awareness regarding: asthma prevalence rate, the impact of asthma in Colorado, and how to effectively manage this chronic disease, emphasizing culturally diverse and regional and rural areas of the state.

Champ Camp:

The CAC is committed to raising scholarship funds for Champ Camp—an educational program and weeklong summer camp for children ages 7-14 with mild to severe asthma. At Champ Camp children gain confidence in themselves and their ability to take control of their asthma.  Daily asthma education sessions  help campers better manage their asthma by helping them identify triggers of  attacks, showing them how to use medications more effectively, and teaching  them more about the disease. Additionally, Champ Camp offers children the opportunity to interact with peers who have asthma and to participate in athletic and recreational activities they may never have experienced before. Camper fees are based on the family’s capacity to pay. As Camp reaches many underserved, disparate populations many of the campers cannot afford to pay. Therefore scholarships from CAC are provided.

School Health Initiative:

CAC members provide support and resources to the School Health Initiative. This Initiative works to increase education to help children, school personnel and families in their care effectively manage asthma by providing safe and effective asthma management services, tools and education while also improving school policies in order to institutionalize the use of Asthma Action Plans and Treatment plans subsequently creating transparency for the school nurse, the family and the student. Children and youth with asthma, their families and individuals working with children and youth in Colorado receive optimal education when learning how to manage their asthma. Thereby empowering the student to be their own health advocate and at the same time reducing hospital admits.

Reach the Peak Asthma Educator-Certified (AE-C) Preparation Course:

The CAC plans, implements, staffs and provides strategic direction to Reach the Peak. The intent of the Reach the Peak: Asthma Educator Certification Preparation Course is to promote consistency and the highest standards in asthma education and care management by increasing the state-wide number of Certified Asthma Educators. Reach the Peak is a comprehensive two day program that equips participants to successfully complete the Asthma Educator-Certified (AE-C) Board exam. Facilitated by a multi-disciplinary faculty of leading physicians, nurses, respiratory therapists, pharmacists and behavioral health experts, the seminar includes a combination of lectures, case scenarios, hands-on device technique, networking and small group strategizing. Over the course of two days, Reach the Peak disseminates the proven standards for asthma management and education set by the National Asthma Education and Prevention Program (NAEPP) Expert Panel Report-3 (EPR-3) Asthma Guidelines. Additionally, the prep course attracts participants from all over the country and is the most widely attended Asthma Educator Certification prep course available nationwide. Overall, Reach the Peak strengthens the participant’s ability to correctly diagnose and manage pediatric asthma while equipping them with the resources and tools to optimize asthma care in their practice settings. Through Reach the Peak, the CAC assists health-care providers in Colorado to correctly identify and manage asthma following the "Expert Panel Report 3 - Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Asthma" developed by the National Asthma Education Prevention Program.

Register For Reach the Peak Here!

ONE Step Training:  Click the LINK to watch our RECORDED webinar and receive 1.5 CECs

The ONE Step provides training and technical assistance to early childhood educators (ECE’s) across the state of Colorado on: “how to” educate parents about the harms of secondhand smoke exposure and promoting the implementation of activities that support smoke-free environments and eliminate a child’s exposure to SHS, creating and strengthening existing policies around smoke-free environments in both the school/childcare setting and in the home. ONE Step is a free training initially developed through a partnership with the Colorado State Tobacco Education Prevention Partnership in 2005, currently supported by the EPA and promoted and implemented by CAC members. This training provides free resources, continuing education credits and concrete skills on how to keep the air shared with children free from tobacco smoke and environmental allergens. Policy work includes training schools/organizations to implement sustainable policy that will support and educate families on smoke-free, allergy-free environments and protect children from secondhand smoke.  Policy work also includes encouraging families to implement no-smoking policies in their homes and cars. Creating these policies and improving those that currently exist impact the health and lives of children across Colorado resulting in social norm change around smoking in the home/car and around children; subsequently resulting in lower health care costs as well as improved quality of life. This training, offered in both English and Spanish, reaches childcare centers, child development programs and parent education programs, which serve disparately affected families, including those from low socioeconomic status backgrounds, across Colorado with a focus on those regions with the highest smoking prevalence. ONE Step educates ECE’s and the message is then shared by early childhood educators through newsletters, posters, flyers, discussions with families and parents and the implementation of sustainable policies that become part of the standard procedures of the school/organization. Participants receive free resources including a toolkit they can use to reference and reiterate information provided in the training.

Advocacy:

The CAC continues to provide advocacy for legislative actions that support the Colorado Asthma Plan. Key advocacy issues include:

  • Improving reimbursement for asthma education when provided by AE-C professionals
  • Access to asthma medication and healthcare
  • Support of school-based clinics
  • Provision of medical homes for children
  • Increasing enrollment for healthcare coverage

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