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J Natl Med Assoc. 2010 Jul;102(7):548-55.

The Chicago Breathe Project: a regional approach to improving education on asthma inhalers for resident physicians and minority patients.

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Section of Hospital Medicine, University of Chicago, IL 60637, USA.



Asthma affects minority citizens in Chicago disproportionately. Policy changes introducing hydrofluroalkane (HFA) inhalers may worsen already-existing health disparities related to asthma.


To teach internal medicine residents about the transition to HFAs so they can better counsel their patients on asthma self-management. To provide minority community members with interactive educational sessions.


Internal medicine residents at 5 Chicago programs. Community workshops in primarily Spanish-speaking (Cicero) Latino population and a primarily African American population from the south side of Chicago.


The Chicago Breathe Project provides residents with education and tools necessary to counsel patients with asthma on inhaler use and provides minority community members with interactive educational sessions on asthma and inhaler use.


Eleven workshops were held across 5 academic institutions, with a total of 161 residents. Resident knowledge regarding HFA inhalers improved dramatically (5% pre vs. 91% post, p < .001). Six months post education, residents were more likely to assess inhaler technique (44% vs. 11%, p = .046) and discuss new HFA inhalers (69% vs. 24%, p = .011) with their asthma patients. Community members provided feedback after the workshops that they would come again, found the session helpful ,and enjoyed the session.


The Chicago Breathe Project resulted in improved resident knowledge and skill on inhaler use during HFA transition. Regional educational approaches targeting internal medicine residencies in urban areas may be helpful to address future changes in chronic disease management. This training can be taken into minority communities to provide high-quality interactive educational workshops directly to patients and their families.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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