3138 Cultural Variation in Diagnosis and Management of Asthma

Saturday, February 19, 2011: 3:00 PM
147B (Washington Convention Center )
David Van Sickle , University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI
Asthma is now one of the most common chronic diseases, affecting more than 300 million people worldwide. Despite intense epidemiological investigation, the development of clinical practice guidelines, and the launch of numerous global initiatives, progress in understanding the epidemiology and management of asthma has been slow and confusing, and important puzzles remain. Persistent questions remain about why many patients with asthma symptoms do not receive a diagnosis, and why only a minority of patients receives appropriate medications. This presentation demonstrates the surprising variability in the diagnosis and management of asthma revealed by a decade of ethnographic and experimental research among patients, provider and public health agencies in the US and India. Overall, these findings suggest how cultural research can advance our understanding of epidemiological patterns and trends, help formulate promising new research questions and methods, and lead to the development of more effective clinical and community interventions.