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Where it All Began

The Asthma 411 story began nearly 20 years ago with Dr. David Sterling, then a faculty member of the Saint Louis University School of Public Health and Social Justice. Dr. Sterling’s goal was to develop a comprehensive and sustainable, school-based approach to improve outcomes for children with asthma. Dr. Sterling and his team began by holding focus groups that included school nurses and administrators. These front-line service providers were asked what they needed to implement best practices in school asthma services, and based on their recommendations, Dr. Sterling and his team created the Asthma 411 initiative. The program was implemented and evaluated in St. Louis from 2002-2008 as part of CDCs, Controlling Asthma in American Cities project, and found to reduce the attendance gap between children with and without asthma, reduce school-day, asthma-related Emergency Medical Service calls, and increase the number of Asthma Action Plans available to school nurses.

Following Dr. Sterling’s move to the University of North Texas Health Science Center, efforts began to disseminate the program to North Texas. In 2013, an academic community partnership was formed to conduct a two year, two school pilot of Asthma 411 in Fort Worth. The program was expanded to 22 schools in 2016-2017.  With strong stakeholder support, a consortium of area health care systems was established in 2017 with a goal of expanding the program throughout Tarrant County. Currently, 10 Independent School Districts with over 340 campuses and 236,000 students, have adopted and are working to implement the Asthma 411 model. It is estimated that approximately 28,000 children in these districts currently have asthma. 


Asthma 411 continues to build on the nearly 20 years of experience with school-based asthma services, while continuously reviewing our content and programs to implement national guidelines, build in new tools for education and professional development, and respond to the changing needs of our partner communities.

Dr. David Sterling

Dr. David Sterling dedicated his career to excellence in the field of public health. His research was community-based and included research on asthma management in a school environment, and assessing how communities perceive and react to air quality issues. 

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