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.


News & Events View All

12/1/14, Washington DC

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Accepting Applications for the 2015 National Environmental Leadership Award in Asthma Management

If you are a health plan, health care provider, or a community-based asthma program that has demonstrated success in managing environmental asthma triggers as part of your comprehensive asthma management program, apply here to receive recognition for your important work. The Environmental Leadership Award in Asthma Management is the nation’s highest honor for programs helping people bring asthma under control. Winners will be recognized in May during Asthma Awareness Month. Winning this award is a sign of excellence and confirmation of success in helping people with asthma lead healthy, active lives.

02/20/14, Washington DC

Webinar Explores Best Practices from a Community Health Center-Based Asthma Management Program

Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) are the ideal setting for treating high-risk children with asthma. In fact, 20 percent of low-income children with asthma receive care in these centers. FQHCs will play a more important role than ever as millions more children are being covered under new health insurance provisions. MCAN hosted an educational webinar, "Insights and Building Blocks from a Successful Federally-Qualified Health Center-Based Asthma Management Program," that explored challenges and opportunities from the Community Healthcare for Asthma Management and Prevention of Symptoms (CHAMPS) program. Click here to view the archived webinar.

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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