California policy makers, health plan leaders, health care providers, employers, and the public will understand the importance of asthma and its continued threat to the public health. Asthma data will be utilized to plan, implement and evaluate interventions, with particular attention to vulnerable populations
Surveillance, a critical component of public health efforts, is "the ongoing, systematic collection, analysis, interpretations, and dissemination of data regarding a health-related event for use in public health action to reduce morbidity and mortality and to improve health." Asthma surveillance is essential for creating effective policies and interventions to prevent or better control asthma on a population basis. It also allows for the comparison of disease rates and the determination of trends to measure progress of programs aimed at reducing asthma.
Asthma surveillance in California has expanded a great deal in the past five years and now includes data on prevalence, symptoms, education, risk factors, work-related asthma, health care utilization, and mortality. There is currently a focus on asthma disparities and an effort to produce regular, timely reports of this data. However, there are additional opportunities to expand the scope of asthma surveillance, including broader application of existing measures, developing and adding new measure, improving data sharing systems, enhancing stakeholder input into strategic planning for surveillance, and increasing dissemination efforts.
As a complement to surveillance, research provides important information pertinent to effective interventions for prevention and management of asthma. The amount of research on asthma has grown in recent years, but key questions about etiology, prevention, treatment, and vulnerable populations are still unanswered
Goal 2 focuses on the maintenance and expansion of asthma surveillance in California and the development of the necessary infrastructure to accomplish this task, including improved data sharing and timely public access to information. Data will be used to evaluate and target interventions to eliminate disparities in asthma, as well as to inform policy development. The facilitation of a research agenda, and convening of a research symposium that reflects the interests and concerns of researchers as well as many other partners, will advance the study of asthma. Experimental and epidemiologic research into the causes and prevention of asthma will require a cross disciplinary and integrated approach.