Orlando Health Leads Asthma Initiative at Seminole Public School

Volunteer respiratory therapists educate students to manage their asthma.

Longwood, FL (November 20, 2019) - Orlando Health South Seminole Hospital is bringing asthma education to students at Hamilton Elementary School in Seminole County. The new initiative is called Open Airways for Schools and it aims to educate and empower kids through a fun and interactive approach to asthma self-management.

For six weeks, four respiratory therapists, Shanette Moss, Darlene Achille and Sheila Padua-Vega, from South Seminole Hospital will volunteer to present 40-minute sessions to enrolled students. Each lesson will incorporate group discussion, games, and role playing to involve and engage students. Topics in the curriculum include:

  • Basic asthma information
  • Identifying and controlling asthma triggers
  • Recognizing and managing asthma symptoms
  • Getting exercise
  • Understanding asthma medication

“We’re very excited to be working with Hamilton Elementary School to bring the Open Airways for Schools initiative to young students in our community,” said Chinonye (Chi Chi) Ike-Egwuatu, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (C.O.P.D.) navigator at South Seminole Hospital. “It will instill in children the necessary skills to manage asthma at an early age and fight long-term lung damage like C.O.P.D.”

According to the American Lung Association, asthma is the most common chronic condition among children. An estimated 6.1 million children under 18 suffer from asthma. It is the third leading cause of hospitalization among children under the age of 15 years and is one of the leading causes of school absenteeism.

Open Airways for Schools is a part of The American Lung Association’s

Asthma-Friendly Schools initiative. South Seminole Hospital partnered with the Florida Department of Health to bring the program to Central Florida.

It has been implemented at more than 30,000 U.S. schools to develop problem-solving skills and build confidence in students. Children who have gone through the program take ownership of their asthma, improve their school performance, and had fewer and less severe asthma episodes.

About Orlando Health

Orlando Health is a $3.8 billion not-for-profit healthcare organization and a community-based network of hospitals, physician practices and outpatient care centers across Central Florida. The organization is home to the area’s only Level One Trauma Centers for adults and pediatrics, and is a statutory teaching hospital system that offers both specialty and community hospitals. More than 3,100 physicians have privileges across the system, which is also one of the area’s largest employers with more than 20,200 employees who serve more than 167,000 inpatients, more than 2.7 million outpatients, and more than 20,000 international patients each year. Additionally, Orlando Health provides more than $620 million in total value to the community in the form of charity care, community benefit programs and services, community building activities and more. Additional information can be found at

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