Purpose: Maryland Regional Operations is a campaign within APhA-ASP that is designed to address public health issues of individuals living in Maryland and in the Greater Baltimore area. In recent years, MRO have addressed issues such as Lyme Disease, Hypertension, and HIV/AIDS. For the 2012-2013 academic year, our focus will be on Asthma in Baltimore City. Through community service projects, outreach events, and health fairs, the goal of Maryland Regional Operations will be to involve pharmacists, student pharmacists, and other health care professionals in raising awareness of the condition and of the pharmaceutical interventions that can be used as treatments for complications of asthma.

What is Asthma?

Asthma is a chronic lung disease that consists of the swelling and narrowing of the lungs, resulting in wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness, and coughing. The inflammation of the airways can be caused by common triggers such as: animals, dust, changes in weather, chemicals in the air or in food, exercise, mold, pollen, respiratory infections, stress and tobacco smoke. Although there is no cure for asthma, the symptoms can be managed with appropriate treatments.

A Closer Look:

According to data published in August 2011 by the Maryland’s Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), Maryland Health Services Cost Review Commission (HSCRC), and Maryland’s Vital Statistics Administration (VSA):

  • Of the 65,227 adult residents in Baltimore City, 18.6% of adult have been diagnosed with asthma.
  • Emergency department visit for asthma among adults in Baltimore City vs the average rate for Maryland was 144.1 vs 50.3. Among children, the rate was 360.2 in Baltimore City vs 136.1 of Maryland. (per 10,000 visits)
  • Hospitalization rate for asthma in adults in Baltimore City was estimated to be 3.3 times higher than that of Maryland adults and 2.0 times higher for children in Baltimore City vs that of children in the state.
  • Average cost per asthma hospitalization for children in Baltimore City was $7,506 and that of adults was $7,932.
  • In 2009, public insurance was the source of payment for 72.1% of asthma hospitalizations in Baltimore City.
  • Baltimore City has the highest asthma mortality and the highest pediatric asthma hospitalization rate in the state of Maryland. (Baltimore City Health Department Asthma Resource)

Do these numbers make you want to jump up and participate? Please join MRO and become a part of the movement to raise awareness for Asthma in Baltimore City through education and community outreach events!

For any Maryland Regional Operation questions regarding participation or additional information please contact Maryland Regional Operation Chair Pasang Kaji Sherpa (sherpapk@umaryland.edu).