City of Independence, Missouri

Independence Health Department Awarded Grant

The Independence Health Department, (IHD) in coordination with the Independence School District (ISD), was recently awarded a $26,732 grant from the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City (HCF) for Asthma Education-Open Airways.

Asthma Education-Open Airways is a program that will provide asthma self-management education for third through fifth-graders. The grant will expand Open Airways for Schools program from an average of 8-10 elementary schools per year to all 18 elementary schools in Independence. The Open Airways for Schools curriculum consists of four 30-minute group lessons for children with asthma held during the school day. The IHD believes it is important that adults working with these students are educated in asthma. To accomplish this goal, the IHD, in cooperation with the ISD, will hold asthma education classes for coaches, school bus drivers, and before/after school teachers. Major outcomes for the proposed grant include increase knowledge in asthma management, decrease in school absentee due to asthma, and increase knowledge for adults working with asthmatic children.

"The Independence Health Department deserves special recognition for coming up with a way to maintain staff education and information flow about elementary school students with asthma in the Independence School District," said HCF Vice President Rhonda Holman. "Families of these children should be able to rest a bit easier that school staffs will know how to care for their children when they suffer an asthma attack at school."

Asthma is a chronic, inflammatory disease of the airways. According to the American Lung Association (ALA), asthma affects 20 million Americans of all ages. Asthma is the number one cause of school absenteeism among children accounting for more than 14 million total missed days of school. For the 2012-2013 school year, the Independence School District (ISD) reported 18% of their students had a diagnosis of asthma.

“Asthma is a serious lung disease that threatens the health of children and hinders their ability to learn and play,” stated Health Director Larry D. Jones, MPH. “The Independence Health Department looks forward to working with the Independence School District in expanding our Open Airways Asthma Education program to better serve students at all Independence elementary schools.”

In 2012, HCF will award $20.5 million in grants in the Greater Kansas City area. HCF financially supports programs, projects, and services that eliminate barriers and promote quality health for the uninsured or underserved.

“Independence Health Department and HCF share a common goal to help the uninsured population and we are grateful to continue to do so,” said Bridget McCandless, M.D. President/CEO. “This grant allows us to reach more residents who are in need of our services.”

For more information on this grant, contact Shawnna Jackson, MSN, RN, APHN-BC, Maternal and Child Health Manager, at 816-325-7185 or