The Mobile Clinic Will Result in "Better Breathing For Baltimore"
Baltimore's first Breathmobile has arrived. This mobile clinic, equipped with state-of-the-art technology and asthma specialists, is making stops at more than a dozen public schools in West Baltimore. The project, which is a partnership between the University of Maryland Hospital for Children and the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, Maryland - Greater Washington, D.C. Chapter, is offering ongoing care to children with asthma.
Asthma is the number one reason for pediatric emergency room visits and the leading cause of school absenteeism. "At some Baltimore schools, as many as 20 percent of the students suffer from asthma. This is significantly higher than the national average," says Carol Blaisdell, M.D., chief of pediatric pulmonology and allergy at the University of Maryland Hospital for Children and associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. She adds, "Children living in urban environments are at higher risk of asthma attacks, which makes the Breathmobile an important tool in keeping children in Baltimore City healthy."
"Asthma attacks can be prevented, and deaths from asthma can be avoided," says Christina Schwindt, M.D., an asthma specialist at the University of Maryland Hospital for Children and assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.
"We will help children identify what triggers their asthma, so we can better control wheezing, chest tightness and difficulty breathing which will ultimately keep these kids in the classroom learning," continues Dr. Schwindt, who is also the medical director of the Breathmobile.
The Breathmobile looks like a mobile home on the outside, but on the inside it is a custom-built clinic, complete with the latest asthma technology. It is staffed by pediatric allergists, pulmonologists, a pediatric nurse practitioner, and a registered nurse, all from the University of Maryland Hospital for Children. These health care providers are able to diagnose children with asthma, offer treatment, prescribe, and in some cases, dispense medication at no charge to the families.
Each year, more than 700 children are admitted to the University of Maryland Hospital for Children due to asthma. "We're optimistic that the Breathmobile will decrease the toll asthma takes by helping children, as well as their parents, understand how to care for and control their asthma," says Sharon Irving, a pediatric nurse practitioner at the University of Maryland Hospital for Children and program coordinator of the Breathmobile.
The Breathmobile will bring care directly to children who need it. Students who are identified by a survey as possibly having asthma will be referred to the Breathmobile. After parental or guardian permission is obtained, the students will undergo a complete medical assessment. The children will then be seen on a follow-up basis approximately every six weeks.
"Baltimore's Breathmobile is modeled after AAFA's Southern California Chapter's Breathmobile. That program has been a huge success," says Linda Boyer, executive director of Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, Maryland - Greater Washington, D.C. Chapter.
"We are expecting the same positive results here in Baltimore," she adds.
The Breathmobile is a community-based program supported by the University of Maryland Hospital for Children, the Asthma & Allergy Foundation of America, Maryland - Greater Washington, D.C. Chapter, Apple Ford, the Baltimore City Public Schools, Maryland State Department of Education and GlaxoSmithKline.
The Breathmobile is a registered trademark of the Asthma & Allergy Foundation of America.
For patient inquiries, call 1-800-492-5538 or click here to make an appointment.