An asthma coalition is an organized group of people from a community or area that want to work together to fight asthma. These people, or stakeholders, who have an interest in improving the lives of people with asthma in their community, can come from many walks of life.
There are 11 local asthma coalitions in Michigan. Though each
coalition is independent, they stay in touch with the other coalitions
so that they can help each other. Some coalitions are newer, and
are working to find out how they can help fight asthma in their
area. Many coalitions have programs that help people with asthma
learn more about their disease. Some coalitions are involved in
research projects and asthma clinics. All of the coalitions welcome
The National Asthma Education and Prevention Program (NAEPP) has defined a coalition as "a broad-based, multi-organizational, community partnership that brings together the public, private, or nonprofit sectors for a prolonged period in an effort to reduce asthma morbidity and mortality and improve quality of life for asthma patients and their families." Each local asthma coalition works to develop goals and objectives that meet the needs of their own communities and are encouraged to be reflective of and consistent with the goals of the NAEPP.
In other words, the coalition, with local members interested in asthma, tries to find the best ways to help those with asthma in their area, using guidelines created by a national asthma organization.
Many of the Michigan asthma coalitions have developed after discovering high numbers of people with asthma in their area. They gathered together some community members who had an interest in asthma, called stakeholders, to help find better ways to treat and prevent asthma attacks. Examples of stakeholders are:
- representatives from public health departments
- voluntary organizations
- community based organizations
- professional associations
- patients and their families
- community and private hospitals and clinics
- managed care organizations
- health care providers
- social services
- public and private schools
- religious organizations
- recreational organizations
- local businesses
- pharmaceutical companies
- local media
- elected officials
The members of the coalition organize their work based on identified needs. There usually is an executive or steering committee that has oversite of the coalition's work, coordinates the coalition's activities and provides
direction to paid or volunteer staff. Work groups may be organized by different strategies and settings such as:
- provider education
- environmental strategies
- family and community education
- schools and daycare
- worksite (for adults)
- communication and public awareness
Allies Against Asthma, based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, has created a resource bank for sharing information about tools and materials that may be useful to coalitions and community programs addressing asthma.
The American Lung Association of Michigan is involved at different
levels in each of the asthma coalitions. If you are interested
in joining with others to start an asthma coalition, contacting
American Lung Association of Michigan office can be a great
place to start.