For Release

October 22, 1996 AAAAI

American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology
611 E. Wells Street
Milwaukee, WI 53202-3889

Contact: Linda Bleimehl
Fax 414/272-6070


MILWAUKEE - Primary care physicians in the Sharp HealthCare network, San Diego, are keeping up with the latest treatments for asthma patients.

Practical Approaches to Asthma for the Primary Care Provider will be held on Saturday, October 26 from 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the San Diego Mission Valley Hilton, 901 Camino del Rio South, San Diego. Sharp HealthCare's Joseph Scherger, MD, Director of the Family Practice Residency Program, is collaborating with the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI) to present the program.

Howard Zeitz, M.D., Associate Professor of Medicine at Rush Medical College, Chicago, will present the interactive program. Dr. Zeitz is a medical educator and physician specializing in allergy and immunology. Through a problem-based learning process, Dr. Zeitz will challenge physicians to determine the best course of care for patients experiencing different levels of asthma. Physicians will learn to diagnose asthma in children and adults, classify asthma severity and develop appropriate asthma management plans.

"The program is a case-based, interactive approach to learning," said Dr. Zeitz. "Together, physicians will discuss the diagnosis and management of asthma cases designed to illustrate specific learning objectives. This approach to learning has been shown to increase long-term retention of knowledge and to enhance the transfer of learning into effective patient care."

James P. Kemp, M.D., a San Diego asthma specialist and vice-president of the AAAAI, took part in creating the Practical Approaches program. "This program offers the primary care provider a unique way to learn about asthma and a new class of therapy directed toward the inflammatory response of the disease," said Dr. Kemp.

Asthma is a noncontagious lung disease that constricts and inflames the airway. Typical symptoms include coughing, wheezing, chest tightness and shortness of breath. The disease affects about 15 million Americans; about 4 million asthma sufferers are under age 18.

Asthma is a chronic and unpredictable disease that can be controlled but not cured. Because the disease varies from person to person, it can be complex to treat. As researchers learn more about asthma, new treatment therapies become available for physicians.

The largest single contributor to the cost of asthma care is inpatient hospital care. Asthma also is the No. 1 cause of emergency room visits to pediatric medical centers. Medications and physician services contribute additional direct costs.

In managed care settings, primary care physicians treat 70 percent to 85 percent of asthma patients. Keeping up with the latest information on asthma diagnosis and treatment can improve patient care and reduce the costs for patients and care providers.

Through an unrestricted education grant from Astra Pharmaceuticals, the AAAAI will co-host Practical Approaches to Asthma for the Primary Care Provider with a number of other managed care organizations in 1997. For more information, contact the Academy in Milwaukee at 414/272-6071.

The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology is the largest national medical specialty organization representing allergists, clinical immunologists and allied health professionals. Established in 1943, the Academy has more than 5,200 members in the United States, Canada and 41 other countries.

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