Funded Projects

Grant Status: Active

Training Category: Healthy Tomorrows

Grant Title: Building Primary Care Capacity for the Management of Complex Pediatric Asthma in Underserved Communities on the South Side of Chicago

Web Site: University of Chicago Project Exit Disclaimer

Project Director(s):

Daniel Johnson, MD
Professor of Pediatrics
University of Chicago
Chicago, IL
Phone: (773) 834-0497


After adjusting for higher prevalence, asthmatic black children in Chicago have 2-3-fold higher rates of hospitalization and visits to the emergency department and 4.9-fold higher mortality. These children are predominantly clustered in communities on the West and South Sides of Chicago. Pediatric asthma care is in the province of primary care providers, but for children with difficult to control asthma, the need for subspecialty care referral is common. Unfortunately, the huge demand for subspecialty care far exceeds the number of trained specialists, leaving patients and providers frustrated in getting timely access to needed care, especially in underserved communities where the majority of patients are uninsured or underinsured. Workforce development and capacity building focused on community-based primary care providers (PCPs) so they will implement and sustain evidence-based asthma management practices is badly needed. Increasing PCP skills will allow children to receive accessible, culturally appropriate care for their complex asthma within their primary medical home and reduce the numbers of patients needing subspecialty referral.

Goals and Objectives:

1) build capacity for the management of complex pediatric asthma among PCPs in underserved communities in Chicago, 2) improve the use of evidence-based practices for pediatric asthma management and standardized asthma education materials among PCPs in underserved communities in Chicago, and 3) connect children with asthma on the South Side to ECHO-Chicago trained providers for asthma management and primary care with the aid of UCM pediatric asthma community health workers.


The Extension for Community Health Outcomes (ECHO) is an innovative program that builds primary care capacity and increases use of best practice protocols at community health centers through advanced training for PCPs in managing common chronic diseases. ECHO-Chicago, the longest-running urban ECHO program, uses high-grade videoconferencing technology to bring together disease specific specialty teams from the University of Chicago Medicine (UCM) with community-based PCPs to form knowledge networks guided by curriculum-driven, case-based, iterative training similar to "virtual rounds."


ECHO-Chicago will implement a new series focused on complex pediatric asthma and forge new collaborations with two other UCM programs -- the Comer Children's Asthma Center and the Pediatric Asthma Community Health Worker Program.