UTHSC selects Denver partner for $2.8 million asthma study


San Antonio (Dec. 8, 2003) – The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UTHSC) has contracted with National Jewish Medical and Research Center of Denver, Colo., to provide telephone and mail patient support for a large-scale study evaluating the benefits of disease management among individuals with moderate to severe asthma.

“Asthma is an increasing problem across the United States, and data suggest it is growing at a faster rate in South Texas than nationally,” said Autumn Dawn Galbreath, M.D., director of the Disease Management Center at the UTHSC. “We believe this research is timely and important and will improve quality of life for asthma patients in South Texas and beyond.”

U.S. Rep. Henry Bonilla of Texas successfully obtained $2.8 million from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for the first year of the study, which is enrolling 1,053 patients in three study groups.

The study control group will receive conventional care. A second group will receive National Jewish disease-management education and support by telephone and mail. The third group will receive these services, along with four home visits by respiratory therapists. At the conclusion of the study, Dr. Galbreath and the other investigators will assess the effect on quality of life, lung function, patient satisfaction and health care usage.

The disease-management services include a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week telephone center to take calls from patients who have questions or problems regarding their asthma.

Patient enrollment began in late October. The study population will include uninsured patients, patients on Medicaid and Medicare, Veterans Administration patients, and military beneficiaries. “Individuals with asthma in these groups are underserved and have a more difficult time controlling their disease,” Dr. Galbreath said. “Therefore, they may benefit more from asthma disease management than subjects included in previous research studies.”

To ask about enrolling, call (210) 567-9700. Families in counties surrounding San Antonio may call 1-888-699-4877.

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