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The King County Asthma Forum (KCAF), with funding from The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, conducted a four year project to improve the health of low income children in Central and South Seattle and Southwest King County. In particular, the project targeted children from low-income households (less than 250% of poverty), age 2 to 17 years, with persistent asthma. The Allies Against Asthma Initiative (Allies) selected these communities because they were disproportionately affected by asthma. The hospitalization rate among children with asthma in this area was almost double that of the balance of King County , and the rate had increased by 62% from 1988 to 1995. The majority (53.3%) of target area residents were racial minorities and represented more than 25 distinct ethnic groups. The target population received medical care in a variety of settings and it was a challenge to provide the population with optimal care.

The KCAF is a coalition of schools, public health and housing agencies, academic institutions, hospital systems, health plans, community clinics and other health providers, and community organizations created in 1998 through a joint effort of the American Lung Association of Washington and Public Health - Seattle & King County . The Forum has opened communication channels among members, worked on assessing school asthma-related policies and developing model policies, and participated in activities of the Washington State Asthma Initiative. The Forum broadened membership to include additional community-based organizations, established a defined structure and governance process, and secured funding to expand the scope of work.

Allies provided a powerful impetus for the KCAF to place its efforts solidly in communities with the greatest needs. In addition to funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the State of Washington Medicaid Program, and Public Health-Seattle & King County provided matching funds along with in-kind contributions from other Forum participants.

The assessment will help us in a planning process with stakeholders to develop interventions that coordinate and integrate local asthma control activities. We envision a multiethnic organizing effort and a set of interventions that will increase the competencies of our communities and improve the health of our most vulnerable children with asthma. We hope our experience will result in a tested model which will have relevance to other ethnically diverse communities interested in controlling asthma and other chronic diseases.

Tools and resources


Asthma medicines assistance: The Partnership for Prescription Assistance brings together America's pharmaceutical companies, doctors, other health care providers, patient advocacy organizations and community groups to help qualifying patients who lack prescription coverage get the medicines they need through the public or private program that's right for them.

Program evaluations