Mayor launches school programme developed to improve self-management of asthma in young people

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan has launched a programme to improve the self-management of asthma by school children in the Capital. My Asthma in School was developed by CLAHRC researchers based at the Blizard Institute within Queen Mary University of London.

My Asthma in School

The programme uses educational workshops and theatre performance to improve asthma control and peer support for asthma in London secondary school.

Asthma affects approximately one in 11 children and young people in the UK; and young people with asthma have higher rates of school absences and visits to their doctor or the hospital. According to the data collected for the study, nearly half of young people (aged 11-18 years) with asthma did not have control over their condition.

Dr Gioia Mosler, Outreach and Learning Manager for the ‘My asthma in school project’, said: 

“The number of deaths from asthma in the UK rank among the highest in the EU. Many of these deaths could be prevented with better self-management.”

She added: “Improving the ability and motivation to self-manage asthma gives many young asthma sufferers the opportunity to improve their asthma control. As a result they would suffer less from common symptoms like coughing at night or breathlessness.”

My asthma in School is one of the first school-based interventions for asthma self-management in the UK. Similar trials have been undertaken outside the UK, however, given that the health and education systems differ, results from these interventions may not be transferable to a UK setting.

The programme has been approved and supported by Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London. Mayor Khan was himself diagnosed with the conditon as an adult –  which he attributes to London’s poor air quality and pollution levels.

He said: “The Greater London Authority and I believe that the ‘My Asthma in School’ programme is likely to promote the necessary education young people require to effectively self-manage their asthma.”

He added: “I encourage all London secondary schools to take part in this programme.”

Using behavioural change theories as a framework, researchers have developed a variety of engaging and entertaining media, such as apps, videos, and interactive games.

The intervention includes an interactive theatre performance (below), lasting approximately two hours, to help raise awareness of asthma among peers. The performance has been developed with partners at Greenwich and Lewisham Young People’s Theatre.

Dr Mosler added: “The theatre intervention addresses asthma from a new angle, focusing on peer awareness and support around young people with asthma. The questionnaire data we collected during phase one showed many barriers related to a perceived stigma around asthma. The theatre intervention addresses stigma around asthma in the peer group.”

The intervention will be trialled in London during the next few months. Given a positive result of this intervention it could be adopted as a wider programme to improve asthma in young people.

The programme is run as part of the My Health in School initiative which aims to improve life and health of young people at school. The team works with Professor Jonathan Grigg, who leads several studies about asthma and lung health in children and young people.

Helping inspire the next generation of scientists

What triggers asthma symptoms?

Can you identify celebrities who live with the condition?

How much lung capacity do you have?

These were just some of the questions we asked visitors to our stall at the 2018 Barts and Queen Mary Science Festival held at Queen Mary University of London’s Mile End campus on 20 June.

The CLAHRC was represented by the My Asthma in School project team at the event aimed at secondary schools and young people interested in a career in science and medicine.

We took the chance to give visitors information on symptoms and managing the condition in schools, and raising awareness among young people they can better understand and support fellow pupils with asthma.

They could also test their lung capacity and put their results on a peak flow rate chart to see how they rated against other young people (below). The team is looking for schools to take part in their work. Signing up your school is quick and easy and will help your school support & empower young people with asthma.

The Exhibitors at the festival provided hands on activities to encourage students to learn more about careers in science.

Now in its eighth year, the 2018 festival was supported by the NIHR Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) at Barts Health NHS Trust and Queen Mary University of London, and Trials Connect.

Thank you to the team and for the invite from Barts and QMUL.

My health in school website up and running

CLAHRC researchers based at Queen Mary University working to positively transform the health of young people have launched the My health in school initiative and website.

‘My Health in School’ aims to support young people’s health via school-based projects.

The My health in school team (below) also includes researchers and communications experts from Queen Mary University of London, and will initially focus will on asthma in young people aged 11-13, building on CLAHRC research and engagement with young people.

Previous collaborations with pupils, teachers and parents has spawned a number of innovations to engage and educate young people living with asthma and their peers. Outputs already developed include board and computer games, a drama being delivered in a number of schools and a short film.

The team is working with Professor Jonathan Grigg, who leads several studies about asthma and lung health in children and young people.

As well as support from NIHR CLAHRC North Thames other key collaborators, include:

  • Centre of the Cell
  • GLYPT (Greenwich and Lewisham Young People’s Theatre)
  • Healthy London Partnership
  • Asthma UK Centre for Applied Research

The project is recruiting secondary schools across London – schools that are interested are encouraged to get in touch with the team – find out more about what being involved means here.

 

 

Patterns of childhood body mass index (BMI), overweight and obesity in South Asian and black participants in the English National child measurement programme: Effect of applying BMI adjustments standardizing for ethnic differences in BMI-body fatness associations

Prof Angela Harden

Angela Harden is a Professor of Community and Family Health. She is a social scientist with expertise in public health and evidence-informed policy and practice. She has conducted extensive research into the health of young people and the communities in which they live. Key themes in her research include sexual and reproductive health, mental health, health inequalities, the wider determinants of health and the evaluation of complex interventions. Angela has a keen interest in research synthesis, transfer and exchange. She is widely known for her methodological work integrating qualitative research into systematic reviews. Motivated by a desire to learn from the views and experiences of those targeted by public health interventions, this work has received international acclaim.
Before joining UEL Angela held research and teaching positions in a number of universities including the Institute of Education at the University of London, Kings College, and Middlesex University. In 2003 she was awarded a four year senior research fellowship by the Department of Health on the promotion of young people’s health. Her most recent post was as Associate Director of the Evidence for Policy and Practice Information and Co-ordinating Centre at the Social Science Research Unit, Institute of Education. Here she ran a number of large research projects as well as contributing to the design and delivery of a new MSc in Evidence Informed Policy and Practice. Between 2005 and 2008 she co-directed the Methods for Research Synthesis Node of the ESRC National Centre for Research Methods. Internationally, Angela is an active contributor to the Cochrane and Campbell collaborations. She is a co-convenor of the Cochrane Qualitative Methods Research Group and was a co-director of the Cochrane Health Promotion and Public Health Field until it became the Cochrane Public Health Review Group in 2008. She now serves on the methodological advisory board for this new research group.
As a newly appointed Professor of Community and Family Health, Angela’s remit is to develop a programme of research linked to improving the health of Newham. Working closely with colleagues in UEL, Newham University Hospital Trust and relevant external partners, she will focus on research with local relevance for improving health and reducing inequalities. Please click here for more details on this research programme.

Professor Jonathan Grigg on the dangers of air pollution underground

Professor Jonathan Grigg, a practicing pediatrician who leads our Child Health theme has outlined the dangers of air pollution underground.

Millions of the Capital’s tube users are unaware of the greatly increased density of air, and much higher levels of harmful pollutants on the subway system compared to what they breathe above ground.

See Professor Grigg interviewed by ITV London News this week.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan launched an air quality campaign this week which will see restrictions on the most polluting vehicles
https://www.london.gov.uk/press-releases/mayoral/mayor-unveils-hard-hitting-air-quality-campaign 

Read a blog by Professor Grigg on London’s “toxic air emergency”
https://www.healthylondon.org/latest/blog/londons-toxic-air

Funding success to develop research on vitamin B12 trial for pregnant women in India

Professor Monica Lakhanpaul, Principal Investigator on our NEON study has successfully applied for funding to develop a major research programme addressing the needs of women and children in India.

Professor Lakhanpaul (pictured below) is leading an application in respond to a call supported by a number of organisations from the UK and India (see below) under the title Global Research Programme; addressing the health needs of women and children in disadvantaged populations globally

The Department of Biotechnology (DBT) in India, in collaboration with Department of International Development(DFID), the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the Medical Research Council (MRC) joint call to fund global health research addressing the health needs of women and children

Successful applicants will build partnerships across the UK and India to execute research that will impact the ability to prevent, diagnose and manage prevalent chronic and infectious diseases facing women and their unborn children in low-and middle-income (LMIC).

By successfully navigating the initial round of the application process (“the concept proposal”) Professor Lakhanpaul has secured a £4000 travel grant to support the development of a partnership for the full proposal development process. Her initial concept proposal was for a vitamin on vitamin B12 trial in pregnant women and children in India.

A full proposal will be made in September for the larger pot of funding.

Monica’s work with the Bangladeshi community in East London is also referenced in a recent blog Can women talking save lives? Reducing inequalities in newborn mortality in India, Nepal, Bangladesh and Malawi