Illinois Department of Public Health Asthma Program Evaluation Services

Background: Asthma is a lung disease characterized by repeated episodes of wheezing, breathlessness, chest tightness, and nighttime or early morning coughing. The CDC’s National Asthma Control Program looks to assist Americans who suffer from asthma by helping them attain better health and improved quality of life. The CDC’s Asthma Program sponsors states by aiding them in enhancing surveillance of asthma, training health professionals, educating those with asthma and their families, and explaining asthma to the public.

In Illinois, the burden of asthma is similar to that of the country as a whole for the current prevalence of asthma in adults, and also for the lifetime asthma prevalence in adults. However, Illinois significantly exceeds the national asthma mortality rate, and black residents are significantly more likely to die from asthma than their white counterparts. Hospitalization rates for asthma-related problems fluctuate notably throughout Illinois’ 102 counties, but the highest rates can be found in St, Clair, McHenry, and here in Sangamon County.

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) has been addressing asthma in Illinois since 1998 through its CDC sponsored Illinois Asthma Program. The Illinois Asthma Partnership, a part of CDC’s and IDPH’s Asthma Program, is an integral part of the collaboration and functions to advise and implement asthma-health strategies. Partnership members represent numerous sectors (federal, state and local government agencies, universities, education, non-for-profits, advocacy organizations, healthcare, pharmaceuticals, and the public) with key strategic partners (AE-Cs, nurses, pulmonologists, pharmacists, health educators, school nurses, advocates, local program managers, concerned parents) implementing various asthma health related activities.

Project Lead: Connie Moody, Tiffany Presley (Program Manager), Nancy Amerson (Epidemiologist)

OPSP Team Members: Wiley Jenkins, David Crumly, Maithili Deshpande

Collaborators: American Lung Association, Respiratory Health Association, Allergy and Asthma Federation of America, Chicago Asthma Consortium, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, McLean County Health Department, and Whiteside County Health Department

Goals: The goal of the program is to reduce morbidity and mortality from asthma through system change and collaboration with state partners.


Governor Rauner signed Public Act 99-0843 that amends the Illinois School Code (105 ILCS 5/22-30) on August 19, 2016. This legislation requires the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) to develop a model emergency response protocol and requires school districts to implement an emergency protocol by January 1, 2017. It also requires school staff who work with students with asthma to complete in-person or online training every two years. Per the requirement of Public Act 99-0843, the Respiratory Health Association worked with the Illinois State Board of Education and other partners to develop the model Asthma Emergency Response Protocol. Illinois State Board of Education released the model Asthma Emergency Response Protocol on 11/4/16.