Indexed on: 02 Oct '14Published on: 02 Oct '14Published in: Health education & behavior : the official publication of the Society for Public Health Education
Objectives. We assessed policy and system changes and health outcomes produced by the Allies Against Asthma program, a 5-year collaborative effort by 7 community coalitions to address childhood asthma. We also explored associations between community engagement and outcomes. Methods. We interviewed a sample of 1,477 parents of children with asthma in coalition target areas and comparison areas at baseline and 1 year to assess quality-of-life and symptom changes. An extensive tracking and documentation procedure and a survey of 284 participating individuals and organizations were used to ascertain policy and system changes and community engagement levels. Results. A total of 89 policy and system changes were achieved, ranging from changes in interinstitutional and intrainstitutional practices to statewide legislation. Allies children experienced fewer daytime (P = .008) and nighttime (P = .004) asthma symptoms than comparison children. In addition, Allies parents felt less helpless, frightened, and angry (P = .01) about their child's asthma. Type of community engagement was associated with number of policy and system changes. Conclusions. Community coalitions can successfully achieve asthma policy and system changes and improve health outcomes. Increased core and ongoing community stakeholder participation rather than a higher overall number of participants was associated with more change.