Asthma is a chronic lung condition characterized by airway inflammation, hyperreactivity, and reversible airway obstruction. An estimated 20 million people in the United States have asthma. There is strong evidence for both genetic and environmental contributors to the development of asthma. Research efforts are identifying numerous genes and gene loci associated with the disease and these efforts are likely to lead to new information about asthma that will be useful for public health practice.

In 2003, the University of Washington Center for Genomics and Public Health initiated a project to synthesize information about asthma genomics, to examine its relevance to public health research and practice, and to communicate findings to a public health practice audience. This goal was achieved through review of the scientific literature, formation of a working group, and consultations with professionals and community organizations. The link to a paper published in Preventing Chronic Disease in 2005 describes the methods used to conduct these professional and community consultations, referred to as the asthma consultative process, and discusses the lessons learned from this activity.

Harrison TA, Burke W, Edwards KL.  The asthma consultative process: a collaborative approach to intergrating genomics into public health practice. Preventing Chronic Disease 2005;2;A27.

Read below to find out more about asthma and our asthma working group activities.

Genomics of Asthma and Relevance to Public Health

Knowledge of asthma genomics has improved considerably over the last few years. Read about the genomics of asthma and its relevance to public health, and explore the many asthma resources available from a Public Health standpoint: Asthma Public Health Perspective.

Asthma Working Group Activities

With support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the University of Washington Center for Genomics and Public Health convened an Asthma Working Group to evaluate the implications of genomics for public health efforts related to asthma. Between January and October of 2003, the Working Group gathered information from the medical literature, held discussions among working group members, and consulted with a diverse group of experts to address this question. A preliminary report of the Group's findings was presented at a meeting held in Seattle, WA on September 22nd and 23rd, 2003.

Final Summary Report

Policy Guides & Asthma

Action Against Asthma: A Strategic Plan for the Department of Health & Human Services (Dept Health and Human Services)

Asthma Research Strategy (Environmental Protection Agency)

Global Initiative for Asthma: Global Strategy for Asthma Management and Prevention (National Heart Lung and Blood Institute)

How to Improve Childhood Asthma Outcomes: A Blueprint for Policy ActionCoordination of Federal Asthma Activities (National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute)

Useful Links to Other Asthma Resources

Utah Department of Health Asthma Program

Allergy and Asthma Network/Mothers of Asthmatics, Inc.

Allies Against Asthma

American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology

American Lung Association

Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases














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