Missouri has an asthma problem, especially when it comes to children. In Missouri, children with severe asthma often ranked three times the national average. What’s worse, these symptoms relapsed, resulting in many visits to the emergency room. There had to be a better way to address this issue and health care professionals knew it.
Over twenty years ago, Southeast Missouri State University hired Dr. John Kraemer. As an expert on air contaminants, health care professionals soon contacted Dr. Kraemer. Those initial conversations soon began a decades-long journey still ongoing today. The primary goal? In science language: reduce the number of severe asthma patients in Missouri. In normal person language: help many children with asthma be able to breathe as best as possible.
The Pediatric Asthma Program is the name of the study. It began in the early 2000s and the early years established a network with health care providers. Since then, that network has experienced massive growth in both contributors and referrals.
Today, Dr. Kraemer and his team work statewide and often collaborate on the national scale. The research from the program has proven invaluable and opened more treatment opportunities. To reach even more patients, the Pediatric Asthma Program trains Community Health Workers. This extends the program’s reach and equips community members to take charge of their own health. They learn for themselves what triggers asthma…and what to do about it. This community education leads to better and lasting improvements to health for all.
While a cure for asthma does not yet exist, Dr. Kraemer's program proves that sometimes less is more. You don't always need cutting edge medical care to create improvements to one’s health. Sometimes, observation and a little knowledge can go a long way.
Research in Action
In 2023, the number of uncontrolled/severe pediatric asthma patients in Missouri still remain steady around 17,000.
Patients who participate in two home visits from Dr. Kraemer’s Program were able to recognize and reduce adverse conditions or behaviors that cause asthma symptom onset by 40-60%.
The program has trained over 300 health department personnel across 82 counties in Missouri to perform environmental home assessments.