Asthma in Pierce County: a World Asthma Day Exhibit

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Nursing & Healthcare Leadership faculty present a community-informed look at asthma in Pierce County through an exhibit of photos and stories.

Just one day after World Asthma Day, a UW Tacoma exhibit on May 7 provides a look into the lives of Pierce County children of Hispanic descent who have asthma. The free event takes place from 1-2:45 p.m. at William W. Philip Hall, on the UW Tacoma campus.

“Un Niño Con Asma: Hispanic mothers’ stories and photos from the frontlines of the asthma epidemic,” explores the impact of health inequities on managing one of the most common chronic diseases affecting children. The exhibit of photos and stories by mothers of children with asthma draws attention to the ravages of the disease and challenges managing it on a personal level using a research technique called Photovoice.

It’s part of a broader presentation, “Asthma in Pierce County: Managing Asthma Beyond the Clinical Environment.” A panel discussion with a Hispanic mother, asthma outreach worker, school nurse, and clinical experts will allow the audience to talk about what they see in the Photovoice exhibit regarding managing asthma.

UW Tacoma Nursing & Healthcare Leadership’s Associate Professor Janet Primomo will provide an overview of asthma. Anthony L-T Chen, MD, MPH, director of health at the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department, will discuss asthma prevention efforts occurring in Pierce County, such as smoke-free housing and replacing old wood stoves with cleaner heating devices. Puget Sound Asthma Coalition and UW Tacoma Nursing & Healthcare Leadership Program are sponsoring the event.

For the Photovoice project, the research team, led by UW Tacoma Nursing & Healthcare Leadership Program Assistant Professor Robin Evans-Agnew, and Washington State University College of Nursing Assistant Professor Julie Postma, worked with mothers of children with asthma who identify as Hispanic or Latina to identify environmental and health related challenges and supports for taking care of their children. The mothers took pictures of their everyday lives, including what they do for and with their children to manage asthma. Some of the photos depict pollutants found in their homes, others depict issues they face trying to promote physical activity, managing medications, and coping with exposure to tobacco smoke inside apartments and in parks. The mothers then worked with the researchers to explain how and why they took their photographs, developing a narrative for each image.

“These photos and stories show that women from Hispanic backgrounds can have a great deal of knowledge about how to prevent their children’s asthma episodes at home. Yet they still struggle with inattentive landlords, housing and city policies that do not enforce smoking bans, and access to appropriate technologies in healthcare for the management of asthma,” said Evans-Agnew.

Grants from the MultiCare Institute for Research and Innovation (MIRI) and The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) supported the Photovoice project.

What: “Asthma in Pierce County: Managing Asthma Beyond the Clinical Environment,” featuring an opportunity to view the Photovoice exhibit “Un Niño Con Asma: Hispanic mothers’ stories and photos from the frontlines of the asthma epidemic”
When: Wednesday, May 7, 2013, 1-2:45 p.m.
Where: William W. Philip Hall, UW Tacoma
Cost: The event is free and no registration is necessary.

About World Asthma Day: World Asthma Day is an annual event organized by the Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA) to improve asthma awareness and care around the world. More information:

Written by: 
John Burkhardt / May 2, 2014
Media contact: 

John Burkhardt, Advancement Communications, 253-692-4536 or