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Making a difference through research and therapeutic experience

The Head-off Environmental Asthma in Louisiana (HEAL) study is a prospective observational study designed to simultaneously examine the impact of Hurricane Katrina on children with asthma living in New Orleans and provide a novel asthma case management intervention emphasizing environmental risk control among this population. HEAL is a collaborative study funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, the National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities, the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health, and the Merck Childhood Asthma Network, Inc.

HEAL participants were recruited primarily through the local New Orleans schools. To be enrolled, participants had to be between 4 and 12 years of age and have moderate-to-severe asthma as defined by the National Asthma Education and Prevention Program (NAEPP) of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Participants in the study receive two clinical evaluations (baseline and 12 months), three home environment evaluations (baseline, 6 months, and 12 months), and quarterly phone surveys (conducted once every 3 months).

The home environmental evaluations are designed to assess the participants’ exposure to mold and other allergens. At the clinical evaluations, study staff assess the participants’ asthma symptoms and morbidity, allergen sensitivity, and pulmonary function. Surveys are also administered at the clinical evaluations and quarterly phone calls to ascertain information about environmental exposures, access to health care, asthma symptoms, utilization of asthma medications, and stress. Additionally, every child receives personalized asthma counseling tailored to his or her allergen sensitization and environmental risk profile.

HEAL concluded in 2009 with 182 participants in the study. The HEAL data coordinating center was managed by Herman Mitchell, Ph.D. and Suzanne Kennedy, Ph.D.

For more information about this research from ClinicalTrials.gov, please see below.

Head-off Environmental Asthma in Louisiana (HEAL)