About the Asthma-Friendly Schools Initiative

The Asthma-Friendly Schools Initiative is a comprehensive approach to asthma management in schools. By providing tools and resources, schools and communities are better able to create a sustainable, asthma management plan within their existing school structure.

The Story Behind the Asthma-Friendly Schools Initiative

The Asthma-Friendly Schools Initiative was created through a cooperative agreement with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Division of Adolescent and School Health. The effort began with a December 2001 conference that pooled the experiences and insight of a range of professionals with expertise in asthma, health education and promotion, community organization, school health, environmental health and program management.

This group of experts recommended a comprehensive set of strategies for creating an asthma-friendly school. They also encouraged the Lung Association to develop a resource that was focused on the role that communities could play in helping their schools with planning and implementation. Out of this conference came the Asthma-Friendly Schools Toolkit and the Asthma Incidence Reporter (AIR) database. Extensive pilot testing and revision over a two-year period led to the final products, which have been available to schools and communities on the American Lung Association website since 2007.

How the Asthma-Friendly Schools Initiative Works

The goal of the Asthma-Friendly Schools Initiative is to keep children with asthma healthy, in school and ready to learn.

The Asthma-Friendly Schools Initiative Toolkit is a planning tool based on real-life activities that have been used in schools throughout the United States to create comprehensive asthma management systems. The Toolkit is based on the premise that a successful Asthma-Friendly Schools Initiative must be grounded in a structured planning process that includes coalition building, community wide input, action planning, and ongoing support. The process and details in the Toolkit provide in-depth planning and activities that are complementary to the Center for Disease Control’s Strategies for Addressing Asthma within a Coordinated School Health Program.

Each community, coalition, organization and school is different and will need to design a custom long-term planning process based on their particular needs. The Toolkit is designed to allow and encourage groups to design a plan that is specific to their community needs and resources.