Allies Coalitions

Fight Asthma Milwaukee Allies (FAM Allies)

Coalition Overview

Fight Asthma Milwaukee Allies (FAM Allies) in Milwaukee, Wisconsin provided linked and integrated services in places where children and their parents/caregivers learn about and manage asthma. These places included homes, childcare centers and schools, community centers and parishes, hospitals, clinics, and pharmacies. Thirty thousand children with asthma live in Milwaukee County. 84% of these high-risk children are African American or Latino, and two-thirds are covered by Medicaid, Badger Care, or are uninsured. The geographic focus for targeted interventions was the central city including 17 neighborhood strategic planning areas where 70% of the children hospitalized for asthma live.

FAM Allies arose as an outgrowth of the existing FAM coalition, which was started in 1994 by a group of volunteers who had been involved with a grant to conduct asthma surveillance for African-American children. These volunteers saw a need to provide community education and awareness around asthma. The FAM coalition was the most comprehensive asthma-focused organization working in Milwaukee and, with Allies funding, was able to greatly increase its efforts.

FAM Allies have continued their efforts beyond the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation funding period.  With a grant from the Medical College of Wisconsin Healthier Wisconsin Partnership Program, FAM Allies continue to improve education and access to quality asthma care in the three highest risk zip codes.  The Yes We Can model, developed by Community Health Works, is used to integrate and coordinate the strengths of FAM Allies partner agencies and individuals in a comprehensive, prevention-based and culturally competent approach to community asthma management. 

In addition, the coalition envisions linking FAM Allies' coalition building, care coordination, community education, and parent organizing success with existing programs that address childhood obesity/overweight.  FAM Allies will also advise a newly funded initiative to improve the health of low-income children with asthma, among others, by targeting physicians to address smoking by parents. The coalition will continue to seek additional federal, national and local foundation, and industry support for innovative activities.

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Key FAM Allies Activities and Downloadable Products

Materials about FAM Allies:

  Coalition brochure (.pdf)
  Membership agreement and form (.pdf)
  2004 annual report (.pdf)
  Map of community action plan (.doc, 1.3 MB)

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For health care providers:

Physican Asthma Care Education (PACE):  improved physician skills for treating patients with asthma

Allergist Outreach Asthma Education for Primary Care Practices:   developed by the Wisconsin Allergy Society and Wisconsin Academy of Pediatrics; teams of allergists and allergy nurses were trained to visit primary care practices to review guidelines, discuss asthma cases, and demonstrate asthma equipment   

  Set of pre and post surveys (.zip)
  Form for parents to complete (.doc)
  Chart review tool (.doc)

Teach Asthma Management:  a workshop for nurses, clinic staff, and health educators that provided guidelines on asthma care and demonstrated teaching techniques and communication methods to help families improve self-management.  In 2002, the program was modified for public school nurses to address their unique social, environmental and administrative circumstances 

  Promotional brochure (.pdf)
  Slide presentation for clinicians, part 1 (.ppt, 4.8 MB))
  Slide presentation for clinicians, part 2 (.ppt, 3.4 MB)
  Evaluation form (.xls)

Asthma Care Fax Program: encouraged pharmacists to notify health care providers when their patients are excessively using short-acting beta agonists; promoted by the Wisconsin Asthma Coalition

  Asthma care fax form (.pdf)
  How to use the asma care fax form (.pdf)

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In the home:

Milwaukee Healthy Homes Demonstration Project: intervention families received asthma education, environmental testing, minor home repairs, integrated pest management, asthma nurse case management, allergy testing, spirometry, bed covers and a HEPA vacuum cleaner

  Home visit checklist (.doc)

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In the school and childcare centers:

Asthma Basics for Schools: a 1-hour presentation for school personnel to recognize and respond to early warning signs of asthma, to properly administer asthma medications, and to identify and control indoor and outdoor asthma triggers. The Wisconsin State inhaler law was emphasized, suggestions for school policy were discussed, and protocols for asthma care plan use and medication administration were outlined.  School personnel received the Milwaukee Public Schools Tools for Schools Teacher Classroom Checklist of indoor air quality and environmental triggers 

  Promotional flier (.pdf)
  Slide presentation for school staff (.zip, 21 MB)
  Activity guide for teachers (.doc)

Exercise and Asthma: a 60-minute in-service workshop for physical education teachers, coaches, and adults who supervise children engaged in physical activities; the program, led by the American Lung Association of Wisconsin, promotes safe physical activity in urban children with asthma

Awesome Asthma School Day:  a two-hour, interactive asthma education field trip to Children's Health Education Center for students in grades 4-6 with asthma; the activity uses larger-than-life models and interactive technology to help students recognize asthma symptoms, properly use medication, learn about benefits of exercise, and avoid asthma triggers  

  Promotional flier (.pdf)
  Slide presentation (.ppt, 4.8 MB)

Counting on You and Responding to Kids with Asthma:   teaches childcare providers how to identify and manage asthma in children.  The 90-minute in-service, led by the American Lung Association of Wisconsin, includes a childcare provider asthma handbook and indoor air quality checklist in English and Spanish.  Program evaluation demonstrated enhanced participant comfort in managing children with asthma, increased communication with parents, and environmental changes to reduce triggers   

Asthma Care at Child Care: presented in English and Spanish, a 2.5-hour class held at Children's Health Education Center or large daycare centers designed to help childcare providers recognize early warning signs of asthma, respond appropriately to children with asthma, and prevent exacerbations; participants receive hands-on training of inhalers and nebulizers using a CPR mannequin and instruction on asthma care plan use  

  Promotional flier (.pdf)
  Slide presentation (.ppt, 16 MB) \   Spanish version (.ppt, 16 MB)  
  Evaluation form (.doc, 2.2 MB)
  Wisconsin-specific licensing regulations and advice (.doc)

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In the community and clinic:

Catch Your Breath: Asthma Survival Skills: a program provided in English and Spanish designed to help parents, adolescents, and adult family members develop good asthma management skills and achieve asthma control; modifications have been made for health and science high school classes 

  Promotional flier (.pdf)
  Slide presentation (.ppt, 9.6 MB) \   Spanish version (.ppt, 17 MB)
  Evaluation form (.doc)

Footsteps to Fitness: an eight-session program led by Children's Health Education Center to help children age 10-13, especially physically inactive ones with asthma, achieve a healthier future; activities include exercise, nutrition education, body image awareness, how the body works, and interactive games 

Parent and Community Organizng and Advocacy:   led by grassroots agency Family House, community organizing brings the talents, resources, knowledge and skills of people in the community together to increase their collective power to transform themselves, to develop lasting leadership skills, to make improvements in their community, and to work for progressive social change

Asthma Wellness Day (AWD):  an asthma-focused, bilingual English/Spanish health fair that provides education, free management tools, and spirometry testing for community members of all ages; the program is provided semi-annually in various central city community settings  

  Promotional poster (.pdf)
  Press release (.pdf)
  Guidelines for AWD stations (.doc)
  Registration and photo consent form (.doc)/   Spanish version (.doc)
  Set of above 5 AWD products (.zip, 1.2 MB)

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Other FAM Allies products:

Multipurpose Bilingual Toolkit of Asthma Educational Materials

  Toolkit of educational materials (English/Spanish) (.pdf, 3.3 MB) 


  Toolkit for parishes (.zip, 4.8 MB)

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Allies Coalitions












FAM Allies
















   Coalition Overview

   Key Activities & Products

Materials about FAM Allies

For health care providers

In the home

In the school & childcare centers

In the community and clinic

Other FAM Alllies products

   Contact FAM Allies:

John R. Meurer, MD, MBA
Project Director