VIENNA, VA, AUG. 12, 2020 – COVID-19 and the disproportionate impact it has had on racial and ethnic groups has put a spotlight on longstanding healthcare inequalities in the United States. Asthma disparities, for one, have long affected African Americans, who face significantly higher rates of emergency department visits and death due to the chronic disease.

Allergy & Asthma Network is responding to this crisis by developing new initiatives to address the needs of underserved communities, with new funding from the nonprofit Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The Network has been awarded $150,000 through the Eugene Washington PCORI Engagement Awards program. The award will support the “Virtual Conference Series for African American Asthma Patients” project.

In addition, the Network was awarded a 5-year grant from CDC to promote guidelines-based asthma management, with the goal of preventing 500,000 hospitalizations and emergency department visits by children with asthma, including those more at risk and from vulnerable communities.

PCORI Engagement Award

LeRoy Graham, MD, founder and medical director of the Network’s Not One More Life program, will lead the project that will focus on encouraging African Americans to participate in research and take an active role in their healthcare. Not One More Life partners with predominantly African American churches and faith-based organizations to host free clinics that connect patients with doctors and offer free asthma screenings and education.

Starting December 2020, the Network will host a series of virtual conferences with African American asthma patients, faith-based leaders, researchers, doctors and other key stakeholders. The conferences are designed to:

  • distribute patient-centered outcomes research (PCOR) results to people with asthma;
  • review research related to African Americans with asthma and COVID-19;
  • address needs of patients and researchers to expand Not One More Life to better engage African Americans with asthma in research.

“Many factors impact asthma health disparities, from income level and lack of health insurance to increased exposure to environmental allergens and irritants,” says Tonya Winders, President and CEO of Allergy & Asthma Network. “Patients are more likely to miss medical appointments, delay their care or forgo medication use, leading to poorer health outcomes. Expanding access to care and encouraging underserved communities to participate in research are key in addressing health disparities.”

“By partnering with faith-based organizations, Allergy & Asthma Network’s Not One More Life program is able to connect with at-risk patients and build a foundation of trust that carries over into their healthcare,” Dr. Graham says. “We are thrilled to work with PCORI to help give African Americans the knowledge they need to participate in research and make informed, evidenced-based decisions about their health.”

According to Jean Slutsky, PCORI’s Chief Engagement and Dissemination Officer, “This project was selected for Engagement Award funding because it will help Allergy & Asthma Network’s community increase their capacity to participate across all phases of the PCOR and clinical effective research (CER) process while responding to contextual changes as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. We look forward to working with Allergy & Asthma Network through the course of their 2020-21 project.”

CDC Grant

Through its National Asthma Control Program, CDC is funding the “Breathe Better Together: A Guidelines-Based Approach to Expand and Implement EXHALE Strategies Across the Country” education and awareness campaign for people with asthma and healthcare professionals.

EXHALE’s patient-centered strategies are designed to reinforce asthma self-management, reduce exposure to asthma triggers, improve access and adherence to medications, and reduce healthcare costs.

The Network will lead a coalition of partners, including CDC, state asthma programs and asthma coalitions, in promoting EXHALE, with a strong focus on social determinants of health and communities that experience asthma disparities.

“Asthma management often requires regular doctor appointments and daily treatment to control symptoms,” Winders says. “We are excited to partner with CDC and leverage our strengths and expertise to empower asthma patients and healthcare professional to achieve optimal health outcomes.”

About Allergy & Asthma Network

Allergy & Asthma Network is the leading national nonprofit organization dedicated to ending needless death and suffering due to asthma, allergies and related conditions. The Network specializes in sharing patient-friendly, medically accurate information through its award-winning magazine Allergy & Asthma Today, E-newsletter, and numerous community outreach programs.


The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) is an independent nonprofit organization authorized by Congress in 2010. Its mission is to fund research that will provide patients, their caregivers and clinicians with the evidence-based information needed to make better-informed healthcare decisions. PCORI is committed to continuously seeking input from a broad range of stakeholders to guide its work.