Meet Kamari Thompson, an Asthma Educator in the Altgeld Gardens neighborhood, and the most recent addition to the Mobile C.A.R.E. family! Kamari has been working in Altgeld Gardens since 2007, combating asthma rates more than double the national average (25% vs. 10% nationally).
“I’m so passionate about what I do,” Kamari says. “I’ve always known I wanted to talk to and help people.”
Asthma Educators work in local communities, educating and coordinating the major players (school staff and administration, parents, and children) to work in the best interest of asthmatic children. They provide personalized trainings to children to make sure they understand the medication they’re supposed to take, schedule appointments for children who need it to receive medical care upon our Asthma Vans, and (importantly) conduct home inspections to rid the environment of allergens and irritants that significantly inflame a child’s asthma. Kamari explains that asthma and home allergens “are a link parents don’t recognize without education,” even though for 70% of children allergens are a major trigger. “That’s why I am a very strong believer in prevention through education. Asthma should not restrict your way of life. If you tell them how to help their child, most parents are going to do that.”
What Kamari says rings true. Asthma Educators have been shown to reduce hospitalizations by as much as 81%, and ER visits by 64%. Educators also save us money by reducing patient no-show rates and increasing efficiency. We estimate that the Asthma Education Program, when it’s fully staffed, will save Mobile C.A.R.E. Foundation $122,000 per year—money that can be used to expand our work to other low-income neighborhoods.
Children with uncontrolled asthma miss five times as many days of school as non-asthmatic students, are routinely rushed to emergency rooms, suffer from sleep deprivation and an inability to exercise, and in extreme cases die from suffocation despite known control medications. We’re excited to welcome Kamari into our growing team!
How you can help our Asthma Educators:
1. Check our wishlist to see if you have items they need
2. Keep in touch with them via twitter (@asthma_vans)
3. Support their work with a financial contribution