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Pharmacy School, Athletes Team Up to Teach Clairton Children About Asthma and Healthy Lifestyles

More than 400 grade school kids from the Clairton School District will learn about asthma and healthy lifestyle choices during a series of fun activities on Friday, Nov. 13, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Clairton City School District's Education Center at 501 Waddell Avenue.

This collaborative effort of Duquesne University's Mylan School of Pharmacy and the Department of Athletics, the Allegheny Health Network, the American Lung Association, Stay Positive Clairton and the Clairton School District is sponsored by the Jefferson Regional Foundation.

"Our primary goal is to identify undiagnosed or uncontrolled disease, such as asthma, and to provide education and skills for asthma and cardiovascular disease control and prevention," said Dr. Jennifer Elliott, assistant professor of pharmacy practice at Duquesne University, who is conducting the Surveillance of Asthma in our Region's Schoolchildren (STARS) study in partnership with Dr. Deborah Gentile from the Allegheny Health Network.

Each grade of approximately 70 3rd through 5th graders will rotate through the following activities from 9 to 11 a.m., and nearly 200 kindergarten through 2nd grade students will follow from noon to 2 p.m.:

  • various health screenings as part of the STARS study
  • sports skills conducted by Duquesne's Athletic Director Dave Harper, Assistant Athletic Director Sherene Brantley, University athletes and strength and conditioning coaches, and Clairton graduate Kevin Weatherspoon, who is a wide receiver at the University of Pittsburgh
  • health education games.

"Asthma can be particularly problematic for younger children because of their high activity levels and, once it is diagnosed, because of the various steps that are required to keep it in check," said Gentile, director of research for Allegheny Health Network's Division of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. "But it is also a disease that often goes undiagnosed in children. This event will not only help raise awareness of the disease, but the health screenings may actually diagnose asthma in some of the students."

Duquesne University's 55 student pharmacist volunteers will run eight different health education games, serve as team leaders and assist with the health screenings. Clairton high school athletes and students will shadow the Duquesne athletes and pharmacy students so that they can help and make connections.

The event will conclude at 2 p.m. with a visit from Pittsburgh Steelers fullback Will Johnson.

Duquesne University

Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic universities for its award-winning faculty and tradition of academic excellence. Duquesne, a campus of nearly 9,500 graduate and undergraduate students, has been nationally recognized for its academic programs, community service and commitment to sustainability. Follow Duquesne University on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.