• School districts from throughout the region, including a number from Cass County, received grants for participating in the Mobile Pediatric Asthma Program during a program on the CHRISTUS campus in Texarkana on Monday.

CHRISTUS awards health and wellness grants to area schools

TEXARKANA -- CHRISTUS St. Michael Health System awarded health and wellness grants totaling $30,000 to 24 area Texas schools at a luncheon on July 17. Schools receiving grants have participated in the free Mobile Pediatric Asthma Program for school-aged children during the 2016-2017 school term, from Sept. 1, 2016 through May 30, 2017.
Areas schools receiving grants include: Avinger, Bloomburg, Clarksville, Malta, McLeod, Mt. Vernon, Simms, Hooks, Maud, Linden-Kildare, Texarkana, Redwater, Red Lick, Queen City, Avery, Atlanta, Liberty-Eylau, Hughes Springs, New Boston, Daingerfield, Pleasant Grove, DeK-alb, Jefferson, and Pittsburg.
Provided by CHRISTUS St. Michael Health System in conjunction with Genesis PrimeCare, the Mobile Pediatric Asthma Program -- one of only two in the state of Texas -- offers asthma screen-ings and evaluations at no charge to participants. In addition to asthma screenings, the program provides services such as breathing tests, personal asthma management plans, parent and child ed-ucation as well as follow-up care. 
To determine if a child may need asthma screening, parents should consider the following ques-tions: Does active play leave your child with abnormal shortness of breath or coughing? Does your child cough often at night? Does your child use a rescue inhaler more than once a week? Answer-ing yes to any of these questions indicates possible need for evaluation.
While the program is available to any child in the appropriate age range, it is especially beneficial to children who may be Medicaid eligible/indigent and are not currently working with a primary care provider on a regular basis to control their disease process.
“Program participants who do not have a primary care provider will be referred as needed,” said Barbara Brown, RN, Spirit of St. Michael Mobile Unit nurse. “Children receiving the screenings and breathing tests who already have a pediatrician or primary care provider will be referred back to their physicians.”
Tracie S. Calloway, D.O., Genesis PrimeCare Pediatrics, said, “We work with families of pediatric asthma/respiratory patients through this program to strengthen self-managed asthma care, resulting in fewer asthma attacks, decreased school absenteeism, fewer Emergency Room visits and hospi-talizations, and ultimately, a healthier, happier life.”
More than 10 million school days are missed each year due to asthma, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and asthma is the third-ranking cause of hospitalization among children younger than 15. A serious public health issue, asthma prevalence is higher among per-sons with family income below the poverty level. 
“We can impact the health of communities in this region through the Mobile Pediatric Asthma Pro-gram by increasing the number of children diagnosed with asthma and helping to equip them and their families with the tools and knowledge to successfully manage the disease and other related respiratory illnesses,” said Chris Karam, President/CEO, CHRISTUS St. Michael Health System.
Symptoms for asthma include coughing that is worse with exercise, inhaled allergens, weather changes, stress, and emotional outbursts; viral infections that go from just nasal and throat in-volvement to a bad cough that lasts more than 10 days; wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tight-ness/pain, feeling tired or fatigued, needing or choosing to rest or sit out of fun activities, and miss-ing school because of respiratory symptoms.
CHRISTUS St. Michael Health System and UT Health Northeast launched the Mobile Pediatric Asthma Program to work with the underserved pediatric population in 12 Texas counties in their respective service areas. The goal of the project is to implement a collaborative program of chronic disease management for children who have serious respiratory problems (asthma/allergies) in order to improve access to care and potentially prevent hospitalizations.
For more information regarding the CHRISTUS St. Michael Mobile Pediatric Asthma Program or to make an appointment for a free screening, call 903-748-8573.

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