- by Mount Saint Mary College
Mount Saint Mary College

Nursing students from Mount Saint Mary College taught asthma self-management in local elementary schools this semester in collaboration with the American Lung Association’s Open Airways for Schools (OAS) program.

This school-based program was developed more than 30 years ago by researchers from Columbia University of NYC and the American Lung Association. The mission of the American Lung Association is to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease through education, advocacy, and research.

The goal of the initiative is to help children in elementary schools better manage their asthma by providing educational training sessions to these children and collaborating with nursing staff in the schools. The program targets schools in underserved communities, based on clinical research.

Further, according to Melesha Brissett of the American Lung Association, who oversees the Mount portion of the program, OAS sessions “increase parents’ and children’s ability to manage asthma, and children participating in these programs experienced decreased school absences, asthma symptoms, emergency room visits, and hospitalization.”

Dr. Antonia Brewer, instructor of Nursing, has helped coordinate Mount students for this partnership since its arrival on campus in 2017. She stated that her students “really enjoy the program and they now see firsthand how important the program is for children living with asthma.”

Going forward, Dr. Carol Wanyo, instructor of Nursing at the Mount, will be leading the collaboration for the Mount students and hopes to maintain the strength of this collaboration for the foreseeable future. She believes it’s an effective way for nursing students to experience how their skills learned in class are put into practice.

“This is an example of providing interventions within the community, and linking academia with practice,” said Wanyo.


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