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.
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.
We educate stakeholders and policy makers on approaches that allow better access to care and promote best practices that are cost effective.
MCAN shares information on what works with stakeholders and communities and educates them about childhood asthma and effective ways to manage it.
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.