Sharing What We Have Learned: Healthy City Collaborative

Dr. Andrea Pappalardo
Dr. Andrea Pappalardo

Sharing What We Have Learned is sponsored by the Office of Community Engagement and Neighborhood Health Partnerships, Healthy City Collaborative, and the Office of Health Literacy, Prevention, and Engagement. We are pleased to highlight research and community engagement activities of UIC researchers. Each month we feature a researcher and important findings from their work. This information is shared in a ready-to-use format suitable for widespread distribution. If you would like more information about our efforts to share what we have learned, visit our website or email

Andrea A. Pappalardo MD, FAAAI, FACAAI
Assistant Professor of Medicine and Pediatrics; University of Illinois College of Medicine
Allergist-Immunologist, Internist, and Pediatrician; University of Illinois Hospitals
Medical Director; CHECK Program
Medical Director; Mobile Care Chicago Asthma Van

“Stock Albuterol: Preventing Asthma Emergencies in Schools”

Asthma in children is common and has potential life-threatening consequences. Asthma requires emergency or reliever medications like albuterol in the event of asthma symptoms. It is important that albuterol (inhaler) is available to school-aged children while in school and that staff know when and how to administer it. Having stock albuterol in schools is a potential solution for children who are experiencing asthma symptoms, but do not have access to an inhaler at school.

A law that allows for stock albuterol to be available to children and staff in Illinois schools was passed in 2018, but few schools have implemented it due to several barriers. Our project offers an implementation strategy to help get stock albuterol into Illinois schools. Stock albuterol could be used when a child or staff member with asthma symptoms may not have a reliever available or do not know they have asthma.

To gain insight needed to appropriately build undesignated medication stocking programs, we interviewed and surveyed national/state organizations and school districts in Illinois and other states. Based on initial interviews and surveys, we know that most school health stakeholders approve of stock albuterol.  Facilitators of implementing successful programs include appropriate funding and staffing, connections to prescribers and knowledge of the legislation. The encountered barriers include insufficient personnel, pharmacy willingness, funding and reporting difficulties.

We are currently working on overcoming barriers by collaboratively finding solutions such as funding, ongoing education to clinical and non-clinical school staff and administration, medication and prescription access. We will then pilot a stock albuterol implementation model that can be adapted for states considering legislation and/or implementation of legislation. We are preparing to implement a collaborative pilot in the 2022-2023 school year with schools from districts across Illinois that represent urban, suburban and rural districts in counties that were identified by the Illinois Department of Public Health as having a high asthma burden.

In our selected pilot schools, we will closely follow metrics to measure success. With our work, we have built a network of stakeholders both statewide and nationally that influences school health on a larger scale. Our goal is to support stock inhaler policy and implementation in states and stakeholders across the nation of this school-based asthma program that has the capacity to greatly influence child health and to reduce health disparities.

About Our Researcher
Dr. Andrea Pappalardo is an internist, pediatrician and allergist-immunologist who practices at the University of Illinois at Chicago/UI Health and at the Mobile Care Chicago Asthma Van. She is an expert in severe asthma and allergic disease management and researches innovative ways to implement interventions, such as stock albuterol, that help reduce health disparities for school-age children.

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