Research & Program Areas

Detroit Head Start Asthma Program

Asthma is one of the leading chronic diseases of childhood and has disproportionate impact on lower income, urban minority children. The Detroit Head Start Asthma Project was designed to address the needs of a high risk group of preschool children with asthma. The project was a partnership between The University of Michigan Schools of Public Health and Medicine, the Detroit Department of Human Services, and six Detroit Head Start agencies. The primary goal was to engage Head Start personnel and families in efforts to improve the management of asthma symptoms among children enrolled in Head Start. This project was designed as a randomized clinical trial: three agencies received the intervention in Year 1, and the three wait-list control group agencies received the intervention in Year 2.

The specific aims of the project included (1) health assessment of children with asthma symptoms; (2) asthma training for Head Start personnel at the three agencies randomly selected to receive the intervention; (3) evaluation of the research partnership with Head Start; and (4) program evaluation with dissemination and discussion of findings with Head Start personnel and parents. Preliminary findings showed improvement in asthma-related health problems, caretakers’ communication with health care providers, and caretakers’ participation with Head Start staff for asthma management of children.

For more information, contact Dr. Belinda Nelson at


Asthma & Allergies, Children & Youth

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