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Asthma Educators

Over the past quarter century, the prevalence and severity of asthma has dramatically increased around the world. This has increased the recognition for the personal, family and community problems and costs associated with asthma. It became apparent that specially-trained, knowledgeable health care providers were needed to teach patients what they need to know to control this complex disease. The national asthma guidelines, published by the NHLBI, recognize asthma education as an important part of controlling asthma.

An asthma educator is an expert in counseling individuals with asthma and their families how to manage their asthma and to minimize its impact on their quality of life.

The asthma educator:

  • has comprehensive, current knowledge of asthma pathophysiology and management including human development, cultural aspects, chronic illness and teaching-learning principles.
  • understands how asthma is diagnosed and how to assess its control.
  • teaches the best use of medications and delivery devices, explaining technical concepts in understandable terms.
  • conducts individual and family assessments to identify strengths, resources, psychological factors, social and economic impact, educational needs and barriers to optimal health care and self-management.
  • works with individuals with asthma, their families and healthcare professionals to develop, implement, monitor and revise the asthma action plan customized to individual needs, environment, disease severity and lifestyle.
  • monitors asthma education program outcomes and recommends changes to improve quality and effectiveness.
  • serves as a resource to the community by providing information about asthma as well as healthcare and community resources.

There is a national process to ensure that asthma educators can provide a consistently high quality of asthma education to their patients. The National Asthma Educator Certification Board has developed a competency exam that is now available. Preparation courses, based on published guidelines for the exam, are currently being scheduled in Michigan.

Asthma Educator Sharing Day is a statewide event bringing together all who consider themselves asthma educators for a day of networking and learning. RN and RT credits are usually available, and can be applied toward AE-C recertification. If you would like to be added to the invitation list for this event, please email GetAsthmaHelpInfo@gmail.com.

A patient material assessment tool was created by asthma experts from across the state to help asthma educators decide if patient material was useful for their needs. View the material assessment tool (pdf).

To find asthma education materials visit the EPA's Asthma Community Network, or go to the Michigan Asthma Resource Kit.