Dallas Children’s Medical Center, a 100-year-old nonprofit hospital serving North Texas, identified the need to reduce disparities in childhood asthma outcomes across racial, socioeconomic, and geographic boundaries. Asthma is the most common chronic condition for children living in Dallas and was the top cause for admission to the Children’s Health emergency department in 2013.
FSG worked with the Children’s Medical Center to develop a cross-sector coalition—the Health and Wellness Alliance for Children—made up of leaders from health care organizations, school districts, government agencies, social service nonprofits, and faith-based organizations. Using a collective impact approach, the FSG team supported Children’s Medical Center and the Alliance in creating the coalition, forming a common agenda, and identifying strategies to address social and environmental determinants of asthma.
FSG played a critical role in bringing together people and organizations to systematically think through our work. The Dallas City Council changed its housing assessment policy to include notation of asthma triggers, representing an early win for the Alliance and a validation of its systematic, strategic approach. The long lasting impact of our work with FSG continues.
Eduardo Sanchez, M.D., M.P.H., FAAFP, former Dallas Alliance Steering Committee Co-Chair, Deputy Chief Medical Officer, American Heart Association, former Commissioner of the Texas Department of Health
FSG’s work on this project included:
- Interviewing stakeholders across the Dallas community, including children diagnosed with asthma and their caregivers, school administrators, and school nurses.
- Bringing together data to understand the multifaceted issues that contribute to high rates of underdiagnosed and uncontrolled asthma.
- Supporting the coalition in systematically linking cross-sector leaders from the community—representing public health, philanthropy, education, environment, government, and clinicians—to build the common agenda.
- Support launching and sustaining working groups to address family knowledge and attitudes toward environmental asthma triggers, and access to quality clinical care.
- Support setting up a backbone structure to support future work of the alliance.
The Alliance helped achieve remarkable success against the complex problem of childhood asthma in Dallas. The Alliance was able to:
- Increase public knowledge on preventing and treating asthma
- Increase screening of children with asthma
- Modify city ordinances to reduce environmental triggers in public housing
In 3 years, this large community effort led to a dramatic 49 percent reduction in the number of patients visiting the Children’s Health emergency department with a primary diagnosis of asthma. The Alliance is an outstanding example of effective, sustained, multisector commitment to the shared goal of improved health outcomes.
About the Dallas Children’s Medical Center
Located in the Southwestern Medical District in the heart of Dallas, Children’s Medical Center Dallas is home to the only academic healthcare system in North Texas that is dedicated exclusively to the comprehensive care of children from birth to age 18. Children’s Health is one of the top pediatric hospitals in the country and the fifth largest healthcare provider in the nation.