It’s a Great Day to be a CHAMP

  • Posted on: 8 June 2015
  • By: susan steppe

As the Project Director of CHAMP, I’m pleased to announce that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has recognized Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital’s CHAMP Program with the 2015 National Environmental Leadership Award in Asthma Management.  We are thrilled to be honored for our hard work in asthma management in Shelby County (Memphis), Tennessee.

The CHAMP program—which is funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services—serves a subset of asthma patients, focusing on children who are most at risk for multiple or severe asthma exacerbations that would result in unplanned medical encounters in the emergency department or hospital. These children and families typically experience a diminished quality of life due to the frequency and severity of asthma episodes.

With a core mission to effectively address chronic diseases of childhood, we have worked to create a program that provides medical care in line with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) standards; asthma education to parents and families; support for families as they deal with the social determinants of health; and connection to community partners including Primary Care Providers, schools and agencies that deal with environmental concerns.  Our asthma registry allows us to gather data on our efforts and track our progress.

Our efforts to date show great promise in attaining program goals, with significant reductions in unplanned medical encounters resulting in potential lower health care costs per child.  What makes CHAMP work?  CHAMP is about relationships—empowering the patients and families to influence their self-management behavior.  Every team member—including physicians, community health workers, asthma care coordinators and clinical social workers—strives daily to listen, support and advocate for the families we serve.

Another important feature of CHAMP is our Parent Advisory Board (PAB), which helps connect families living with asthma.  Parents are able to help each other with questions they have and feel supported by a community experiencing the same situations.  The president of the PAB stated the importance of this group and the CHAMP program in this way: “It’s like putting puzzle pieces together.  It gives us peace of mind that we’re all there to help each other.”

Today, this parent’s daughter plays basketball at her church and plans on trying out for her school team this year—something Mom thought she could never dream for her.

As we say at Le Bonheur, “It’s a great day to be a CHAMP!”