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Helping Students in Oklahoma Breathe Easier

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Accepting the Champion of Children's Health award was, left to right, Wendy Lawson, American Lung Association in Oklahoma board chair; Terri Bailey, executive director; Cassidy Fallik, program manager; and Aimee Merick, volunteer.

The American Lung Association in Oklahoma's Open Airways for Schools program is an essential tool in helping children with asthma manage their chronic disease.

The Open Airways for Schools program is a school-based curriculum that educates and empowers children through a fun and interactive approach to asthma self-management. More than 30,000 U.S. schools have used this state-of-the-art program to educate students ages 8–11 about asthma.

This research-based program is highly interactive and designed to teach children how to manage and control their asthma. Topics within the program include understanding normal vs. asthmatic breathing, recognizing early warning signs and taking medications.

Open Airways For Schools consists of six 40-minute sessions, incorporating group discussion, stories, games and role play to involve and engage students in the learning process. The program aims to decrease school absenteeism, limit asthma emergencies, improve classroom performance, increase student participation in physical activity and grow the overall confidence of a child in their ability to take steps to control their asthma.

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Pictured at the Champion's Health Gala on Sept. 28 is Wendy Lawson, American Lung Association in Oklahoma board chair; Jane Pauley, TV personality and gala celebrity guest; and Cassidy Fallik, program manager.

In FY 2017, the Open Airways program collaborated with 17 different elementary schools, completing the program a total of 39 times and impacting the lives of approximately 300 children.

Because of their great work in schools across the state, the American Lung Association in Oklahoma was honored with the Champion of Children's Health award at the Champions of Health Gala on Sept. 28, sponsored by the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma.

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