Breathing Easier About Asthma


Getting children with asthma to breathe a little easier is the goal of an Open Airways Day Camp camp to be hosted by Maryville University’s nursing program on Saturday, April 14. Students in Maryville’s community health nursing class will facilitate educational and fun activities for about a dozen middle school children with the lung condition, using interactive mannequins and life-size models. Maryville is sponsoring the camp in conjunction with the American Lung Association.

“Hopefully, by the end of the day, the campers will feel more confident about taking care of their asthma,” said Mary Curtis, RN, Ph.D., director of Maryville University’s nursing program. “Our curriculum provides an entertaining way for children to learn about the triggers and symptoms of asthma. Even if your child has been educated in asthma, this program is beneficial because it provides new ways of learning.” The camp will conclude with a graduation ceremony, when each camper will receive a certificate.

According to statistics compiled by the St. Louis Regional Clean Air Partnership, more than 208,000 people in the greater St. Louis region suffer from asthma. Of that number, 54,031 are children. According to the American Lung Association, asthma is the third leading cause of hospitalization among children under age 15 and asthma is the most common chronic disorder in childhood, currently affecting an estimated 6.2 million children under 18.

Curtis said the day camp also provides an opportunity for Maryville students to put into practice the community health nursing skills they have been honing throughout the semester. In addition to classroom instruction, students have visited middle schools in the Parkway School District, educating children about asthma. “Asthma is a big problem in the St. Louis area and we hope our community health activities help to alleviate the fears of children with asthma, especially those newly diagnosed.”

For more information on the April 14 Open Airways Day Camp, contact Curtis at (314) 529-9478 or

Maryville University, founded in 1872, is a private, coeducational institution offering approximately 50 undergraduate, seven master’s and two doctoral degree programs to 3,300 students. Ranked by U.S. News and World Report as one of America’s Best Colleges in the Midwest, Maryville University prepares its students for successful and meaningful careers by offering programs that integrate liberal arts with professional studies.

Among Maryville’s most recent graduates, 94 percent are employed or attending graduate school. Approximately 15,000 alumni work and live in the St. Louis region.