If the emergency department is encouraging routine care, it is important that professionals in the community be willing to provide it. Thus, as a second strategy to address access to care, Dr. Robert Strunk, coprincipal investigator of the Neighborhood Asthma Coalition, has begun a series of regular meetings with practitioners from the community to review their and our perceptions of problems with asthma care and barriers to providing asthma care within our target neighborhoods. Importantly, this work also takes a community organization approach to working with the professionals. Rather than didactic presentations by the academic expert to the community practitioner, meetings center on mutual discussion of problems and possible solutions to them. Data which might be viewed as critical or disparaging are presented always in aggregate form to point out a community problem rather than an individual’s failure. They are reviewed from the perspective of identifying areas in which it is worth effort to improve practices rather than from the perspective of identifying areas in which to condemn individuals or groups.
The physicians who meet with Dr. Strunk serve also as a Physician Advisory Board to keep them informed about Neighborhood Asthma Coalition programs, encourage referrals to the neighborhood asthma coalition, receive feedback and suggestions from physicians concerning patient needs, and generally establish lines of communication between the Neighborhood Asthma Coalition staff, including the CASS workers and providers. The group currently includes eight physicians; as additional area providers are identified through the program, their participation on the committee will be encouraged. generic allegra
The general plan of our program development entails working through neighborhood Wellness Councils to gain their active participation and responsibility in program planning and implementation. However, the priorities of the Wellness Councils include a number of issues and problems beyond those of any single project, and sometimes, those of the single project are not initially perceived as of great importance by the Wellness Councils.