In 1997 The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia entered into a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Minority Health, to establish the Community Asthma Prevention Program (CAPP) in West Philadelphia. The program would conduct classes for families in familiar environments such as community centers, churches and schools; measure knowledge acquisition and retention; and measure self-management behavior changes.
Since 1997 CAPP has been conducting community education classes in schools, churches, daycare centers and other locations in Philadelphia. The curriculum used is based on You Can Control Asthma©, developed at Georgetown University, and classes are structured so that both parents, or caregivers, and children, can learn simultaneously. CAPP classes are currently offered in various areas of the city.
CAPP classes for parents and caregivers are group-facilitated by parent educators who have been trained by CAPP staff to conduct classes. The classes for children are led by teens and college students who are peer educators and who are trained to use the curriculum. Our goal in using a "train the trainer" model is to leave neighborhoods and communities with lay asthma experts and in this way, sustain asthma prevention efforts.
We have demonstrated that asthma knowledge, asthma control and asthma quality of life is improved in participants who have attended classes and that this improvement is maintained for at least one year. In a study of 267 West Philadelphia class participants, retention of knowledge, asthma control and asthma quality of life significantly improved as compared to before class participation.
In the latter part of 1998, CAPP began its Home Visitor Program in order to address the home environment of the asthmatic child. In this program, trained lay-educators or "home visitors" visit families of asthma patients who are high risk in inner-city Philadelphia.