Date of Award

Fall 11-17-2016

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Respiratory Therapy

First Advisor

Lynda Goodfellow

Second Advisor

Douglas Gardenhire

Third Advisor

Chip Zimmerman



BACKGROUND: The Health Law Partnership (HeLP) Legal Services clinic is part of the Health Law Partnership in the School of Law at Georgia State University. HeLP clinic law students learn alongside residents and medical students while working on cases involving childhood asthma, housing conditions, education, and access to healthcare for clients who are low income residents of the metro Atlanta area. PURPOSE: The purpose of the study was three-fold. One evaluation described the knowledge of asthma amongst the residents, medical students, and law students who practice at the HeLP clinic. The second evaluation determined the use and/or the need of certified asthma educators (AE-C) within the HeLP clinic and at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. Thirdly, what were the gaps found in inpatient and outpatient asthma education at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, and where can the use of AE-C’s be helpful in providing effective asthma education using evidence-based practice? METHODS: Following IRB approval, medical students, law students and pediatric residents were invited to participate in a two-part survey to assess the perception and utilization of AE-C’s and the knowledge of asthma using the National Asthma Education Prevention Program (NAEPP) guidelines. Data obtained was analyzed using SPSS, version 23. Descriptive analysis and t-tests of significance were utilized. De-identified patient data was obtained for gaps in asthma education. RESULTS: Thirty-one HeLP clinic members responded, 44% medical students and residents, and 32% law students completed the survey. Approximately 64% of the HeLP clinic members have 1 year or less than 1 year of experience serving in the clinic. Current data suggests that 85% of HeLP clinic members, law students and medical residents would utilize the resources of an AE-C if available within the clinic. There was no significant difference of the knowledge of asthma management between law students and medical residents (p = 0.008). However, when reviewing individual answers of the asthma self-management guidelines, law students answered more correctly than pediatric residents. Data reported from the HeLP clinic revealed that legal aid was provided for 112 children with a diagnosis of asthma. CHOA treated 7,482 children with asthma in the Emergency Department across 2 campuses, of which 64% did not receive asthma education upon discharge. CONCLUSION: This study was to determine the knowledge of asthma and the use of AE-C’s within the HeLP clinic and CHOA amongst law students and medical residents. No known studies have compared the knowledge of asthma and the use of an AE-C’s within a health law partnership collaboration that is unique to HeLP. Further education and needs awareness is needed for physicians and those who advocate for individuals with this incurable, yet, manageable pulmonary disease. The utilization as well as awareness of AE-C’s within HeLP and CHOA is strongly suggested.