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Minnesota Asthma Program  
Breathing Space Respiratory Disease Newsletter

Health Promotion & Chronic Disease Division
Chronic Disease & Environmental Epidemiology Section

Volume 5, Number 2 June 2007

What’s Inside?

• State Asthma Plan
• Asthma Milestones
• Freedom to Breathe Act of 2007
• MN Adults With Asthma
• Susan Ross Receives National Award
• Asthmanex Twisthalers
• MDH Awarded Star Grant
• EPA Resources
• Upcoming Minnesota Asthma Coalition Events
• Asthma Community Network

Thanks to ALL who contributed to the various workgroups which developed the revised Minnesota Asthma Plan.

cake photo

Freedom to Breathe Act of 2007

Governor Pawlenty signs Freedome to Breathe Act of 2007

On May 16, 2007, Governor Pawlenty signed the Freedom to Breathe Act of 2007, prohibiting tobacco use in almost all Minnesota workplaces, including bars, restaurants, and private clubs. The law is a major public health accomplishment. It will significantly benefit people with respiratory diseases, including asthma. The next issue of Breathing Space will have more information on the new law that goes into effect on October 1, 2007.

Minnesota Adults with Asthma

Minnesota Adults with Asthma graph

Since 2000, the percentage of Minnesota adults reporting that they have asthma has ranged from a low of 6.6% in 2001 to a high of 8.4% in 2005. Increasing prevalence could be due to greater awareness of asthma leading to a greater likelihood of diagnosis, as well as the increasing development of new cases. Women are more likely than men to report having asthma (9.7% versus 5.9%). The percentage of Minnesota adults with asthma in 2006 (7.8%) was lower than the national median for that year (8.5%).

Susan Ross Receives National Award

Susan Ross Receives National Award photo

On March 14, 2007, Susan Ross, RN, AE-C, received the 2007 Award for Excellence in the Prevention and Control of Chronic Disease at the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors meeting in Atlanta. The award is presented annually to one individual in the field of public health. Susan was recognized for her contributions in developing the interactive asthma action plan, in developing the asthma school manual and conducting the asthma trainings for school personnel, and in developing the asthma online program for coaches, “Winning With Asthma.”

Asthmanex Twisthalers

The Institute for Safe Medication Practices has alerted health care professionals about a potential problem with Asmanex Twisthalers. Each Twisthaler contains multiple metered doses of mometasone furoate, a
corticosteroid inhalation powder used to treat asthma. ISMP notes that under certain circumstances, the dose counter of an empty Asmanex Twisthaler could indicate that the product still contained medication. This might cause patients to try to administer the drug from an empty container, and thus not receive a needed dose of medication.

To prepare a dose, the patient twists the white cap counter-clockwise and removes it while holding the inhaler upright. This loads a single dose, ready for inhalation, and it also decreases the dosage counter by one. After the dose is inhaled, the patient replaces the cap and turns it clockwise until it clicks, indicating that the device is ready for the next dose to be loaded. When the dose counter reaches “00,” the Twisthaler
locks shut to prevent the patient from using an empty device.

The problem can occur if the patient twists the cap forcefully after the dosage counter reaches “00.” This could reset the counter to show some remaining doses, even though the device could not deliver them. Before prescribing, dispensing or administering this product, show the patient the dosage counter window, found under the indented arrow on the white part of the cylinder. Remind patients to refill the prescription when the dosage counter reaches “10” and to discard the Twisthaler when the dosage counter reaches “00”. Also, instruct patients not to keep the product more than 45 days after the pouch has been opened, regardless of the remaining doses.

Additional Information: ISMP Medication Safety Alert! Safety Briefs - Dose Counter May Not Work. November 16, 2006.

Asmanex Website. How to Use Asmanex Tutorial.

MDH Awarded STAR Grant

MDH will be receiving an EPA Science to Achieve Results (STAR) grant to examine links between air quality and respiratory diseases. This grant will begin in Fall 2007 and continue for three years. Dr. Jean Johnson will be directing this project.

NCER Star logo

Resources available from the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency

U.S. EPA, Indoor Environments Division, has a wealth of asthma related information available on their website at As part of their effort, they make available to the general public, partners, media outlets and health care professionals a with a wide variety of asthma resources at no-cost. EPA develops resources to share information about
asthma, environmental asthma triggers, comprehensive asthma management and community-based efforts. A description of some of the publications available and ordering information can be found at

Communities in Action for Asthma-Friendly Environments Network

This free online national network is designed for community-based asthma programs and organizations that sponsor them—including representatives of health plans and providers, government health and environmental agencies, nonprofits, coalitions, schools and more. The Network is supported by the EPA in partnership with Allies Against Asthma, a program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Programs in the national Network are helping each other to achieve remarkable health and quality of life improvements for people with asthma. This interactive Network will introduce you to effective strategies that are key to achieving positive health outcomes. Partners in this network have real-time access to other registered programs and their best practices; cuttingedge Internet tools to facilitate collaboration, problem solving, and learning between leaders of asthma programs; and the most current strategies for making your program a thriving and comprehensive asthma management resource. For more information or to join, please go to:

Questions about lung health?

Call 1-800-548-8252 American Lung Association Call Center

BREATHING SPACE, a quarterly respiratory disease newsletter, is produced by the Minnesota Department of Health Asthma Program. The purpose of this newsletter is to provide health professionals, school nurses, and community members with current research, information, and resources on respiratory disease.
This newsletter is supported by Grant/Cooperative Agreement
#U59/CCU522470 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the CDC.

For more information, or to request this material in another format call 651-201-5909 or e-mail:

MN Relay Service TDD: 1-800-627-3528

To recieve this newsletter electronically, go to: and click on Subscribe to Breathing Space.

MDH Asthma Staff Contact Information:
Asthma Program Telephone Number: 651-201-5909
Toll Free Number: 1-877-925-4189

Asthma Web Site:

Wendy Brunner, 651-201-5895,

Erica Fishman, 651-201-5899,

Janet Keysser, 651-201-5691,

Laura Oatman, 651-201-5914,email:

Susan Ross, 651-201-5629,

Janis Smith, 651-201-5909,

Editor: Janet Keysser, MA, MBA
Production: Janis Smith
Commissioner of Health: Dianne Mandernach

Minnesota Asthma Plan

The Minnesota Asthma Steering Committee modified and adopted the final draft of the Strategic Plan for Addressing Asthma in Minnesota at its meeting on May 1, 2007. The plan includes objectives and strategies to accomplish goals in seven areas: Data and Surveillance, Environment, Work-Related Asthma, Self Management, Community, Health Professionals, and Systems Change. The plan is intended for years 2007 – 2012. A chart of some Milestones accomplished in recent years can be found on the next page.

More than 100 people from over 80 organizations were involved in either the Steering Committee or one of the five work groups: Data, Environment, Individual/Family/Community, Health Professional Education, and Work-Related Asthma. On May 16 the plan was submitted, along with an application, to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for continued funding for the state asthma program, although many activities in the plan are beyond the scope of CDC funding and are objectives which other asthma partners will be pursuing.

MN Asthma Steering Committee Group Photo
Some of the dozens of people involved in the state asthma plan, including
Dr. Don Uden (center), chair of the Asthma Steering Committee, celebrating
World Asthma Day on May 1, 2007.

Minnesota Asthma logo


Minnesota Asthma Milestones Since 2000


Minnesota Asthma Coalition

Updates and Upcoming Events

Metro Regional Asthma Coalition (Metro MAC)

Upcoming events:
Monday, June 25, 2007 at 6:00 p.m. Metro Asthma Coalition meeting at American Lung Association of
Minnesota Building in St. Paul, 490 Concordia Ave.

July 8-13, 2007, Camp Superkids, at the YMCA Camp Ihduhapi, Loretto, MN, for 8-13 year olds to learn about asthma and the proper techniques for self-management of medications in a fun, medically supervised summer camp setting. Activities include swimming, waterskiing, fishing, ropes course, archery and arts and crafts. Children must be on daily meds for asthma. For more information contact Jonathan Oney, ALAMN, (651) 268-7598 or go to:

The COPD Patient Rally will take place on Wednesday, July 11, 2007. Contact Cheryl Sasse at 651-223-9565 for more information or to register. Cost is $15 per person.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007, Implementation and Interpretation of Spirometry in the Primary Care Practice training hosted by Metro Asthma Coalition. Held at Pediatric Home Service in Roseville, Minnesota. For cost and to register, contact Kristi Van Riper, MPH, CHES at the American Lung Association of Minnesota, 651-268-7601,

For more information on the Metro MAC, contact Jill Heins at 651-227-8014,

Southwest Regional Asthma Coalition (SWRAC)

On May 3, 2007, Dr. Amy Ellingson gave an Asthma Management update at the Northside Medical Center in Ortonville for staff. She explained how to implement the new Asthma Management Guidelines to participants.

On May 8, 2007, the Coalition sponsored an Asthma Booth at the “Teen Health & Wellness Spring Expo” held at the Willmar Senior High School. Approximately 100 students completed a screening questionnaire and about 500 students (grades 9th-12th) stopped at the booth to learn about asthma and asthma medications.

A partnership was formed with the Kandiyohi County Tobacco Coalition to create, produce, and air two radio public service announcements that were recorded by two children with asthma. The SWRAC wrote the script and located the children to read the scripts. The Tobacco Coalition gave financial support to hire a media professional to assist in recording and also paid for a week of drive-time saturation for the announcements. The announcements were aired during prime times and also at other times as a public service announcement on four area radio stations during the month of May. They can be heard at:

A one hour in-service was held for Kindergarten and 2nd grade staff in May at Park Side Elementary in Marshall.

The “Managing Your Child’s Asthma” curriculum (asthma basics, triggers, and medication administration techniques were covered) was utilized and presented to 18 staff members and one parent. A “Controlling Asthma: What You Need to Know” flipchart was given to the School Nurse for a resource. This was donated by the Coalition.

In May, over 200 kindergartners in 11 classes at Kennedy Elementary School in Willmar received a 10-minute asthma presentation. A story was read, visual aids were used for triggers, and the different medications were shown. At the conclusion each student was given a color sheet about asthma to bring home.

Upcoming events:
Tuesday, September 25, 2007, “Caring For Kids with Asthma” will take place at Ridgewater College.

September 2007, Lunch & Learn Asthma Presentation, Redwood Area Hospital; time and date to be determined.

If you have any questions or would like more details regarding any future SWRAC events, please contact Amy Roggenbuck at or 320-568-2471.

Southeast Minnesota Regional Asthma Coalition

On June 15, 2007, from 2-7 p.m. the Schmidt Printing Employee and Family Health and Safety Fair was held. Schmidt Printing is located in Byron, MN. SERAC had a display with many educational materials. Jackie Heying, CNP, AE-C, in Pediatric Asthma and Allergy at Mayo and Dr. Ashok Patel, Pulmonology and Critical Care Medicine at Mayo, were the coalition representatives at the fair and were available to answer questions from employees, spouses and children.

Upcoming events:
On June 25, 2007, the Special Respiratory Clinic opens at the Rochester Salvation Army. The SERAC is pleased to provide volunteers and assist with the organization and staffing of the new Respiratory Clinic through the Good Samaritan Medical Clinic at the Rochester Salvation Army. The clinic is one of several available for people who have limited or no insurance. Held the 4th Monday of every month from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m., the respiratory clinic provides services for people with asthma and other breathing problems. It will be staffed by volunteer medical professionals, many who are members of SERAC. Jo Anne Judge-Dietz, coalition member and STEPS to a Healthier Rochester School Coordinator, was able to have flyers printed in both English and Spanish and distributed at the Olmsted County court house at the Mexican consulate/immigration program.

For more information contact Judy Wothke 507-453-0714 or Please visit the web site at

Northeast Regional Asthma Coalition (NERAC)


Mayor Bergson proclaimed May 2, 2007 as World Asthma Day for Duluth. NERAC members were present when he signed the proclamation.

On May 3, 2007, the coalition partnered with the Lake Superior Medical Alliance to reach over 2000 4th-5th graders with asthma information at a health fair.

Upcoming events:
St. Scholastica Nursing students will be providing asthma education to day care providers as their summer clinical experience between June 20 and August 6, 2007.

For more information, contact Lori Saari NERAC Coordinator at 218-391-3942 or

West Central Regional Asthma Coalition (WCRAC)


In the first quarter of the year, two day care trainings were held. In March, Connie Graff presented the “Caring for Kids with Asthma” program twice at a day care conference in Bemidji. In May Barb Heier also presented the “Caring for Kids with Asthma” program in Detroit Lakes.

On April 28, 2007, the “Breathe Well, Live Well program was presented by Vickie Habberman in Detroit Lakes.

A creative effort in May for World Asthma Awareness Month was to use “Toilet Paper” to inform the public about asthma. Information sheets about asthma were strategically placed in public restrooms! Also, in May Shelly Svec and Doreen Hanson participated in a radio show discussing asthma.

On June 19, 2007 the WCRAC met at Douglas County Public Health in Alexandria and participants could join by teleconference. Amy Roggenbuck, MAC statewide coordinator, joined the meeting.

Upcoming Events:
September 29, 2007, is Super Asthma Saturday in Alexandria. Everyone is welcome! There will be educational speakers for the adults and games and prizes for the children who attend. Food and refreshments will also be provided.

For more information on the WCRAC contact Doreen Hanson at: or 320-762-3043.

East Central Regional Asthma Coalition (ECRAC)


For World Asthma Day, May 1, information was displayed in the Kanabec County Public Services Building reaching over 300 people.

Also in May, information was provided to the staff and students at the Braham Public Schools. Coalition members also had a display and were available to answer questions at an employee Health and Wellness Fair at the Grand Casino in Hinckley.

For more information, contact Kathy Burski at 320-679-6438 or

South Central Regional Asthma Coalition (SCRAC)


Plans are beginning for a second annual asthma walk in Glencoe, Minnesota.

For more information contact Amy Roggenbuck at 320-568-2471 or

Central Minnesota Regional Asthma Coalition

“Caring for Kids with Asthma” presentations were held in Monticello on May 10 and at the St. Cloud Office of Childcare Choices on May 24, 2007.

On May 23, 2007, the coalition participated in a health fair for all City of St. Cloud employees.

For information on the CMRAC contact Kathleen Milligan at 320-253-6011 or

Northwest Regional Asthma Coalition (NWRAC)


If you would like to join or would like more informationon this coalition, contact Amy Roggenbuck at 320-568-2471 or


Minnesota Department of Health
Asthma Program
Health Promotion and Chronic Disease Division
Chronic Disease and Environmental Epidemiology
85 E. 7th Place, GR Bldg.-4th Fl.
P.O.Box 64882
St. Paul, MN 55164-0882

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