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Children to Learn About Asthma, Healthy Lifestyle Choices During Campus Visit

Duquesne University Times

Dr. Jennifer Elliott, assistant professor of pharmacy practice, is coordinating the event for 70 fifth- and sixth- graders on Monday, May 19. "The primary goals of the camp are to identify undiagnosed or uncontrolled disease, such as asthma, high blood pressure, overweightness and obesity in children, and to provide education and skills for asthma and cardiovascular disease control and prevention," said Elliott.

Campers will receive health screenings and compete in a life-size educational board game created by Duquesne student pharmacists. The camp's morning tracks will be split between children with asthma and those without. The track for children with asthma will focus on explaining the disease and how to control it through proper lifestyle and medication management. The other track will focus on the importance of good nutrition and physical activity to increase heart health. The campers and volunteers will be provided a healthy lunch and spend the afternoon on sports skills instruction, concluding with a Duquesne student athlete discussing the importance of education, hard work and smart choices.

Research from previous camps hosted by the Mylan School of Pharmacy revealed that about 44 percent of the children attending had a previous diagnosis of asthma, and 76 percent of those children had uncontrolled asthma; nearly 13 percent were identified as having potential undiagnosed asthma.

This camp is an extension of the Surveillance of Asthma in our Region's Schoolchildren (STARS) study of the School of Pharmacy in partnership with the Allegheny Health Network.

"The results of our previous study reveal that this interdisciplinary sports camp model is effective in identifying undiagnosed and uncontrolled disease, and providing families with recommendations for follow-up care," said Elliott. "Asthma education has been shown to increase asthma-related health outcomes, and our asthma, nutrition and physical activity curriculum is based upon nationally recognized, evidence-based guidelines and recommendations."

Several departments have collaborated to organize the camp. Sherene Brantley, assistant athletic director for student services, is coordinating the physical activity education with mini-clinics given by various teams and coaches.

"This camp model is a true example of the University mission of ‘serving God by serving students' as pharmacy students not only learn about asthma and cardiovascular disease management firsthand, they learn about the duty we have as health care professionals to provide service to our community," said Elliott.

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Duquesne University Times