School nurses from across the country are creating innovative programs to teach students and parents about asthma and allergies in their communities. Under the leadership of the National Association of School Nurses (NASN) and Schering/KEY, NASN’s primary corporate partner, the efforts of school nurses are being recognized and rewarded.
Seven school nurses, including Yolanda Lasmarias, a Philippine nurse from the Los Angeles Unified School District, were recently honored at the NASN’s 33rd Annual Conference in Phoenix, Ariz., for their groundbreaking asthma and allergy programs at their schools.
Lenore Harris, a school nurse at DeAnza Middle School in Ventura, Calif., was selected as the winner of Schering/KEY’s School Nurse Asthma and Allergy Leadership Award. She received a new computer for her school and a $1,000 grant for the purchase of asthma and allergy-related education materials from Schering/KEY. Each of the six runners-up received $500 in asthma education materials.
Lasmarias, the only minority recipient of the award, is the asthma program manager at her school, which serves approximately one million students. Through a partnership with the LA County USC Medical Center and the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (Southern California Chapter), the LA Unified School District sponsors the use of “Breathmobiles,” vehicles that are equipped with a physician, a nurse and a respiratory therapist that canvas 80 schools in the district. Additionally, a financial counselor rides along in the Breathmobile to assist with insurance eligibility for those children who may not have the proper resources.
“The Breathmobile is very successful and well received, because it goes directly to the sites,” says Lasmarias. “This way, people don’t have to worry about how to get to a clinic or a doctor’s office.”
Lasmarias and the Los Angeles Unified School District also collaborate with the American Lung Association to sponsor Open Airways, and participate in several other asthma/allergy prevention programs, including Tools for Schools and Asthma Watch, a data collection program that will locate a medical facility within one day for parents to take their children for evaluation. This program also provides an Asthma Van that takes families with no means of transportation to asthma treatment.
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