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AIM Winter 2015 Newsletter

Winter 2015 - In This Issue:

The Asthma in Michigan: A Blueprint for Action, Strategic Plan 2014 - 2017 is now available! This plan provides direction to the Asthma Initiative of Michigan and guides the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) Asthma Prevention and Control Program staff, resources and partnerships. It includes current asthma data and identifies best practice strategies toward specific asthma public health goals. 

is a course designed to teach you how to recognize the signs of mental health problems, and to offer initial help in case of a developing mental illness or mental health crisis. Check out this Mental Health First Aid video for more information.

Is your organization a leader in asthma management? The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is currently accepting applications for the 2015 National Environmental Leadership Award in Asthma Management. Winning this award is a sign of excellence and confirmation of success in helping people with asthma lead healthy, active lives.For more information, visit 


Online applications due on

January 30, 2015 



Presentations from the October 30 Asthma Educator Sharing Day are now available. Topics include Bronchial Thermoplasty, Motivational Interviewing and New Tobacco Products/Tobacco Cessation. 

People with Disabilities:
Barriers to Good Healthcare

by Candice Lee
"I have what's called a developmental disability. But I have severe asthma too. My doctor wants me to come into the office when I have an asthma attack, but an asthma attack on top of my other health issues makes me too sick to travel. I also know the doctor's office gets frustrated when the bus drops me off late for my appointment. I'm only able to make it to the doctor when I'm doing well, so my doctor never sees how bad things get."   ~Tammy

People who have disabilities – whether lifelong conditions, or due to chronic disease or injury - make up nearly 20% of Michigan's population. Almost 30% of people with disabilities have been told they have asthma; higher than the national average, and sixth in national rankings


This population can experience significant barriers to good healthcare; chief among these are physical access, and the ability to obtain preventive care. Here are a few things healthcare providers can do to address these barriers, and ensure their patients with disabilities get the same excellent care they provide to the rest of their patients.

Access. Access does not end when a patient gets in the front door. All patient areas must be physically accessible. Practices should consider having at least one exam room with an adjustable-height table and enough space for a person in a wheelchair to turn around (your aging patients will also thank you). Make sure office staff know how to obtain interpreter services and materials in other formats (large print or electronic, for example).

Preventive care. The time-limited nature of an appointment means the provider is always addressing the most urgent issues first. Unfortunately, for patients with complex health issues, this means preventive care may take a back seat until something serious happens. Try to ensure your patients with disabilities are getting the same level of preventive care and testing as your other patients.

For more ways you can remove barriers to good healthcare, visit the Partnership for Health & Disability for information about issues that surround health for people with disabilities in Michigan, including general and health professional resources. Find resources on state-related disability information (employment, available benefits, housing, etc.) at the Michigan disability resource portal.

Candice Lee, MSA is the coordinator for the Disability Health Program at the Michigan Department of Community Health.

The MI Air, MI Health Coalition has published a new fact sheet about asthma in Michigan, primarily focused on outdoor air quality. Learn more about health and clean energy in Michigan, and about the MI Air, MI Health Coalition.