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$2.66 million NIH award to improve asthma treatment in African-American young adults

October 25, 2016

Older adolescents and young adults are at the highest risk for poor asthma management and health outcomes, but few studies have been published on this issue.

A team of Wayne State University researchers led by Karen MacDonell, Ph.D., assistant professor of Family Medicine and Public Health Sciences at Wayne State’s School of Medicine, recently received a $2.66 million award from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health to address research limitations on interventions and ultimately improve asthma management in racial minority populations, particularly minority adolescents and young adults.

The project, “Multi-component Technology Intervention for African American Emerging Adults with Asthma,” will test an intervention with 192 African-American emerging adults with moderate to severe persistent asthma and low controller medication adherence recruited from clinic and emergency room settings.

“We will use a technology-based intervention specifically targeting adherence to asthma controller medications to determine if it improves adherence to asthma medications,” Dr. MacDonell said. “It is our goal for this intervention to improve the quality of life of minority emerging adults with asthma at a low cost. Ultimately, we want to bring this in to the clinic setting to reach larger numbers of emerging adults with asthma.”

Half of the study participants will participate in sessions consisting of computer-delivered motivational and individualized, tailored text messaging focused on medication adherence between the sessions. The other half will complete a series of computer-delivered asthma education modules matched for length, location and method of delivery of the intervention session. They will also receive text messages between intervention sessions containing general facts about asthma.

“We anticipate that the patients receiving information that is tailored and individualized will show greater improvements in adherence to medication use and asthma control,” Dr. MacDonell said. “This will result in improved illness management and health outcomes.”

The grant number for this National Institutes of Health award is HL133506.