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.
Asthma treatment regimens have greatly evolved over time and until asthma was recognized as an inflammatory disease of the airways in the 1960s, patients weren't always considered to be afflicted with a physical illness, let alone a chronic condition.
In the past 60 years, research and overall management continue to evolve, and the focus on evidence-based medicine has led to improved outcomes as well as quality of life for many. Despite improvement, 1.8 million asthma diagnoses are still made in hospital emergency rooms with an average hospital stay of 3.6 days. And worse, children have two times the rate of emergency room visits compared to adults. So while much has been done there is still so much further to go.
Advocates, physicians, scientists, caregivers and patients continue to join forces to increase awareness of effective asthma management and treatment. We continue to examine the current state of research, treatment and interventions and continually reassess our collective path forward.