Improving School Health Policies and Asthma Management in Kentucky Schools
Attendance rates for over 1,000 students with asthma improved as part of a project in six priority districts.


Boy with respiratory illness

A partnership between the Kentucky Department for Public Health (KDPH) and the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) enriches local school wellness policies and improves asthma management in schools. This initiative provides statewide trainings for school staff and district leaders with a focus on strengthening nutrition, physical education, and physical activity policies and practices.

KDPH and KDE also targeted six school districts to improve access to school nurses and interventions for students with asthma. Nurses identified students with asthma and provided appropriate interventions to stabilize their condition. Nurses also tracked attendance for students with chronic absenteeism in order to provide case management. CDC funding helped to hire and maintain school nurses involved in the asthma management program.

School health measures strategically align with Kentucky’s education accountability system. These measures assess use of best practices and identify areas of growth for continuous improvement to school policies and the asthma management program. To sustain the work of the partnership, KDE promotes CDC resources, such as the Comprehensive School Physical Activity Program guide, Parents for Healthy Schools resources, the School Health Index and the interactive Virtual Healthy School. CDC Healthy Schools-funded national organization resources, such as the National Association of School Nurses’ asthma toolkit also supports initiative goals.


The project targeted to school nutrition, physical education, and physical activity potentially reaches 38,000 students in 15 priority rural school districts in Southeastern Kentucky. The asthma management project reaches 1,032 students with asthma, out of the 9,011 students enrolled in six school districts.

This program was supported by CDC’s State Public Health Actions to Prevent and Control Diabetes, Heart Disease, Obesity, and Associated Risk Factors and Promote School Health cooperative agreement (DP13-1305).