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EPA honors NEISD for excellence in asthma management

Diane and her staff.
(Pictured L to R) Girish Nair, Diane Rhodes, Larry Fowler, Kathy Hardin and Nick Kellar. In cooperation with campus nurses, custodial staff, PE teachers, administrators and district facility maintenance staff.

The North East Independent School District (NEISD) has been selected to receive the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) 2013 National Environmental Leadership Award in Asthma Management for its exemplary efforts to deliver high- quality environmental asthma management as a part of comprehensive asthma care services.

This award recognizes stellar asthma management programs that are using innovative approaches to improve patient health and quality of life. NEISD is the first school-based asthma care program to receive this prestigious award, and one of only three award winners this year. Award winners are recognized for demonstrating that comprehensive asthma care with a strong environmental component can dramatically improve health outcomes and quality of life for people with asthma.

“I am pleased a district can be recognized for its health initiatives and highlight the impact student health can have on student performance and district funding when a comprehensive asthma program is in place,” said Diane Rhodes RRT, AE-C, assistant director of the NEISD Asthma Awareness Education Program. “I hope that this continues to empower school district personnel to realize the return on investment that can be achieved when it invests in the health of children proactively.”

In the six and a half years since its launch, the North East Independent School District’s Asthma Awareness Education Program (AAEP) has reduced asthma symptoms in school and reduced emergency medical service transports during the school day from 80 transports per year to 24 transports per year. The AAEP has delivered asthma education to every district campus, by reaching every physical education teacher, nurse and campus administrator, and as a result has seen yearly attendance averages increase from 95.3 percent to 96.1 percent since the AAEP’s inception.

“EPA is recognizing the North East Independent School District for their outstanding efforts to reduce the burden of asthma for families in their communities,” said Mike Flynn, Director of EPA’s Office of Radiation and Indoor Air. “Their program is achieving positive environmental and health outcomes, and EPA applauds their innovative approaches and dedication to controlling asthma.”

Rhodes gave three factors that have brought the program to its current pinnacle by simply stating, “Lots of hours, lots of heart and lots of passion.”

Posted on May 14, 2013