CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — As asthma continues to be a public health concern, causing many preventable hospitalizations, missed school and workdays, the Texas A&M Coastal Bend Health Education Center hosted its annual asthma conference in April to provide health professionals the latest information on proper diagnosis and treatment of the disease.

The conference, titled “Asthma Conference 2017: An Ounce of Prevention,” covered a broad range of topics to educate physicians, nurses, respiratory therapists and medical students. More than 130 professionals attended the conference.

“Our goal for this conference is to raise awareness of asthma’s impact in our communities,” said Karl Serrao, MD, FAAP, FCCM, the course director for the conference. “Through this conference, and the Texas A&M Healthy South Texas initiative, we’re working to find better methods of collaboration between medical professionals to care for those with asthma in non-clinical environments, such as schools and workplaces.”

Distinguished speakers from diverse professional backgrounds spoke on topics relevant to the Coastal Bend. Such topics discussed were the latest information on asthma diagnosis and treatment; unconventional asthma triggers unique to South Texas; proper diagnosis and the consequences of improper diagnosis; and the best practices for educating the public on asthma.

“Asthma is a common concern for children and adults in South Texas,” said Starr Flores, director of the Coastal Bend Health Education Center and regional director of Healthy South Texas. “The Coastal Bend Health Education Center holds these conferences to give our doctors, nurses and other medical professionals the training they need to provide the best diagnosis and treatment for their patients. Those who attended this conference can use what they’ve learned to help ensure their asthmatic patients continue to live healthy, active and productive lives.”

The event also featured a public health panel, where the speakers talked about effective ways to promote asthma guidelines and implement an asthma action plan with their patients, among other subjects.

“We want to bring professionals from various medical backgrounds to find the best ways to work together to better serve our patients,” Serrao said.

Participation in the conference counted toward health care professionals’ continuing education requirements.

Asthma affects more than two million Texans and is one of the most frequent reasons for emergency room visits among children. One of the goals of Healthy South Texas is to address the need for asthma education among medical professionals and the general public.

The Coastal Bend Health Education Center, which has programs offered under the Healthy South Texas initiative, hosts asthma education classes to give those affected by asthma helpful instruction on how to manage their symptoms, identify triggers in the home and come up with an asthma action plan.

For more information, call 361-561-8670 or visit healthytexas.tamu.edu/asthma.