Chicago Bear Olin Kreutz teams with experts to teach Chicago residents about asthma

May 1, 2000

In celebration of World Asthma Day, the Chicago Asthma Consortium (CAC) and the University of Chicago Asthma Center will team up to educate Chicago residents about understanding and treating asthma. Asthma patient and Chicago Bears’ starting center Olin Kreutz will speak to patients and families about his personal experience with asthma on May 3, 2000.

"I want to encourage people to take the offensive against asthma," said Kreutz. "With the right action plan and the right medication, asthma can be managed so that you can perform at your best. Don’t let asthma keep you on the sidelines!"

Kreutz, who has learned how to successfully control his asthma, will join Drs. John and Matthew Clarke for two events on Chicago’s South Side, on Wednesday, May 3, 2.

The first will be held at Chicago's Kennedy King College, 69th and Wentworth Streets, Student Lounge (IW55), from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. The second will be held at the Charles A. Hayes Family Investment Center, 4859 S. Wabash Street, from 5:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Both events will include local asthma experts, educational information for families with asthma, and entertainment.

Drs. Clarke, the physician/musicians behind an educational CD, have gained recognition for providing educational tools in a format that young asthmatics can relate to and understand. They will perform their rap, "Asthma Stuff" to an audience at the Hayes Family Investment Center.

"We want children to know that having asthma doesn’t mean giving up sports or exercise or other things they love," said John Clarke, MD, Family Practice Chief Resident at St. Vincent’s Catholic Medical Centers in Queens, N.Y. "It's a chronic disease, but one that can be managed. Olin is a terrific example that asthma does not have to interfere with people reaching their goals."

Sandra Thomas, MD, from the Chicago Department of Public Health, and Lenore Coover, RN Chair-Elect, CAC, will discuss asthma in Chicago and the role of the CAC and World Asthma Day, which is sponsored by The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. The World Asthma Day activities emphasize the need for the world’s asthma sufferers to have access to timely diagnosis, appropriate treatment and education to help control their conditions.

"Asthma is a treatable disease. People don't have to die from it, but they do," says Thomas. "It is clear we need to do a much better job at managing the disease and educating people."

According to the Chicago Department of Public Health, on average, five African-American children die of asthma in Chicago every year; yet, in 1998, 13 African American children died. A recent analysis of Medicaid prescription data showed that the majority of Chicago area children on Medicaid are not receiving optimal care as determined in the NIH Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Treatment of Asthma. In the most severe cases, only 41percent of the children on Medicaid received any inhaled steroids.

In addition to activities at Kennedy King College and the Charles A. Hayes Family Investment Center, educational activities for children and adults will be available at the University of Chicago Hospitals’ Center for Advanced Medicine, 5758 S. Maryland Avenue, from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Chicago residents can learn about environmental triggers of asthma, management and treatment of asthma, and undergo a free asthma screening.

The Chicago Asthma Consortium (CAC) and the University of Chicago Asthma Center are co-sponsors of Asthma Day activities, in conjunction with the Grand Boulevard Federation, Merck Pharmaceuticals, and Glaxo Wellcome Inc. The goals of the CAC are to reduce the morbidity and mortality and enhance the quality of life for people with asthma. For more information about CAC or its programs, call them at 312-243-1560 or visit their Web site at www.chicagoasthma.org.

The University of Chicago Asthma Center’s goal is to enhance asthma care, research and education through partnerships among scientists, clinicians, teachers, families, and community members. Asthma is a complex disorder with physiological, psychological, social, and environmental aspects. The Asthma Center is committed to increasing understanding of the many dimensions of asthma and working to reduce its impact on the health of the global community.

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