Addressing the Complex Problem of Childhood Asthma in the United States

The Merck Childhood Asthma Network, Inc. (MCAN), a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) organization, funded by the Merck Foundation, is the only private foundation solely focused on addressing the complex and growing problem of childhood asthma in the United States.

Improving Access to Quality Asthma Care for Children

MCAN works to improve access to and quality of asthma healthcare for children – especially the vulnerable and medically underserved – through research, community programs and partnerships.

Advocating for Policies that Expedite Evidence-based Asthma Care

We educate stakeholders and policy makers on approaches that allow better access to care and promote best practices that are cost effective.

Increasing Awareness and Knowledge of Asthma and Quality Asthma Care

MCAN shares information on what works with stakeholders and communities and educates them about childhood asthma and effective ways to manage it.


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Putting Together the Pieces to Manage Childhood Asthma

Childhood asthma is a serious and costly chronic disease that affects 1 out of every 11 children. National Asthma Awareness Month gives us an opportunity to put our heads together to come up with good ideas to help children and their families better manage the disease. It’s time to start managing asthma where children live, learn and play. That’s why the Merck Childhood Asthma Network, Inc. created this infographic to highlight the critical role that schools, families, healthcare providers and policymakers have to play in helping the millions of children struggling with asthma.


Findings of “La Red Project” Published in Pediatrics  Show Health Improvements for Children with Asthma

The results of a study published online in a supplement to the journal Pediatrics reveal that combining existing evidence-based asthma interventions improved the health and quality of life for low-income and minority children with asthma in two housing projects in San Juan, Puerto Rico.  The multi-year childhood asthma program funded by MCAN and known as La Red de Asma Infantil de Puerto Rico helped reduce asthma symptoms, emergency room visits and hospitalizations in children with moderate to severe asthma.

Throughout the years, innovation has allowed us to overcome some of the toughest health challenges. From targeted therapies to fight cancer to advances in stem cell research, thinking outside the box can bring about much-needed change. For millions of children with asthma, outside the box thinking could mean the difference between staying in school and learning with friends or winding up in the emergency room.

So, what does thinking outside the box mean? At the highest level, it means we cannot continue to approach childhood asthma the same old way and expect to reverse the fact that one in every 11 children in the United States suffers from it and that asthma disparities exist in some communities. First, we must understand that childhood asthma is a chronic disease. Not an "every-once-in-a while" or "only when you wheeze" disease. Relying solely on our current medical system to help the millions of children struggling with asthma is no longer realistic. Certainly, healthcare professionals have a critical role to play. But so do families, schools and communities.

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