Community asthma program inspires students

Triple A workshop; University of Sydney
University of Sydney students taking part in the Triple A workshop

A program which enlists university undergraduates to teach high school students about the dangers of smoking and asthma has received an overwhelming response.

A recent University of Sydney workshop for the Triple A (Adolescent Asthma Action) program was over-subscribed, attracting 35 medicine and pharmacy students with a further 20 on a waiting list.

Triple A, developed and implemented in western Sydney secondary schools, is a peer-led asthma management and smoking prevention program delivered by trained university students to Year 11 students.

Triple A founder, Associate Professor Smita Shah said the overwhelming workshop enrolment shows that university students recognise the seriousness of asthma and the importance of primary prevention and community engagement.

“Triple A university Educators have a vital role to play in discouraging smoking, building confidence in secondary students to manage their asthma or to assist someone having an asthma attack and administer a puffer.”

“At the same time the program gives these university students the opportunity to get into the community, in places they might never go to, and improve their communication and patient management skills.”

Last year, the NSW Ministry of Health launched its Aiming for Asthma Improvement in Children Program, which is aimed at finding new strategies for better management of asthma symptoms, reducing emergency department presentations and better support for students with asthma.

Over the last 20 years, the Triple A program has been proven to reduce asthma-related school absenteeism, reduce asthma attacks in schools, improve asthma management and knowledge and importantly, improve students’ quality of life.

“Despite recent advances in asthma treatment, three school aged children died from asthma-related complications in western Sydney last year,” she said.

“There is an opportunity for secondary schools encountering issues with smoking or asthma to get support from WSLHD,” Associate Professor Shah urged.

For further information on the Triple A program, contact the WSLHD Primary Health Care Education and Research Unit on 9845 6505 or visit our website:



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