The Asthma Toolkit Bootcamp – Bridging the Gap Between Urban and Rural Healthcare

Dr. Bruce Bender, PhD, lead researcher and co-director of the Center for Health Promotion at National Jewish Health discusses recent research published in “The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice” about The Asthma Toolkit Bootcamp, a program that improved physician adherence to current guidelines, leading to fewer hospitalizations, emergency room visits, and decreased use of oral medications. 

Dr. Bender is a member of the faculty at National Jewish Health, where he initiated the pediatric neuropsychology service. From this service, he began a research program designed to examine incidence and correlates of cognitive impairment in children with asthma, leading to a series of studies on the neuropsychological side effects of medications used to treat allergies and asthma.

He has an ongoing research program that investigates health care behaviors that moderate asthma treatment effects, and the psychological disorders that undermine adherence. Dr. Bender is the head of the Division of Pediatric Behavioral Health, a team of seven psychologists, social workers, art therapists, and psychiatrists who provide services to children with chronic illness and their families.

In 2006, he helped to establish the Colorado Asthma Tool Kit Program to address medically underserved asthma patients around the state, including those with low incomes, who speak Spanish as a first language or who live in rural locations. This program teaches health care providers to deliver care that is consistent with the most current evidence-based guidelines and, importantly, how to provide effective self-management education to adults, children and parents.

The Asthma Toolkit program has since become the Respiratory Toolkit program, providing primary care training in both asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Dr. Bender is a fellow of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, and the recipient of a lifetime achievement award from the American Thoracic Society.

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