Neighborhood Organization for Pediatric Asthma Management in the Neighborhood Asthma Coalition: Community Organization

Neighborhood Organization for Pediatric Asthma Management in the Neighborhood Asthma Coalition: Community OrganizationThe likelihood of an individual being persuasively exposed to the program’s message through his or her own informal networks should increase accordingly. Supporting this strategy are a number of studies linking participation in formally organized groups to neighboring behaviors. Consequently, working with formal organizations among neighborhood citizens to recruit informal networks is a central theme of our work with smoking cessation and asthma management in low-income, urban African American neighborhoods of St. Louis.
Another way to reach informal networks among target audiences may be to expand formal ties between the program and other organizations active among those audiences. Links to groups within which members of target audiences are already active link those members with the new program. other Thus, informal networks may be reached through the formal networks of which individuals are already members.
Another advantage of community organization approaches is their inclusion of multiple change tactics as opposed to reliance on a single intervention. Publicity campaigns, neighbor-to-neighbor appeals, print and other media, brochures and posters, classes and group programs all may be included in community organization programs. Thus, individuals who may be isolated from one channel of information, by low literacy or economic disadvantage, may be reached by another so that the aggregate effects of all may exceed by far the impacts of individual interventions.
Neighborhood Wellness Councils named the program and oversee its development and implementation in each neighborhood. The 36-month Neighborhood Asthma Coalition includes the following: (a) promotional campaigns to increase awareness of asthma and its care and to recruit participants into Neighborhood Asthma Coalition programs; (b) neighborhood residents trained as CASS workers (for ‚Äúchanging asthma through social support,” the name chosen by Wellness Councils) to work with asthmatic children and their caregivers to encourage asthma comanagement and to conduct management programs in local institutions; (c) a neighborhood summer day camp and neighborhood asthma activities throughout the year for asthmatic children, their families, and friends; (d) asthma management curriculum offered through the camp and neighborhood activities, as well as through community health centers and churches; and (e) plans for activities in neighborhood schools.

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