University of Wisconsin–Madison

SHARP Program

Staying Healthy—Asthma Responsible & Prepared™, also known as SHARP, is an academic asthma health education and counseling self-management program delivered in schools during instructional time by trained certified elementary school teachers.

SHARP is an innovative, fun, and engaging program for students with asthma, enrolled in grades 4 through 6, and members of their social network. The program was designed to help students with asthma accept responsibility for managing their condition. Input, from students and their parents, was used by certified asthma educators and elementary school teachers to develop the program.

Learn How and Why SHARP is Important for Students, Schools, and Communities

  • School Administrators

    Academic aspects of the SHARP School Component

    • SHARP integrates into existing curriculum as an elective course by meeting benchmarks for grades 4-7 and performance-based assessment activity consistent with grade 5.
    • SHARP is an academic program that includes spelling words, math problems, reading and writing assignments, discussions and demonstrations, and hands-on learning activities from biology, psychology and sociology.
    • SHARP is delivered by trained, certified elementary schoolteachers to increase acceptability by students, caregivers and school personnel.
    • graphic of a female student at a table reading

    • SHARP addresses developmentally appropriate cognitive, psychosocial and behavioral needs of older school age students in transition for life-long management of their asthma.
    • SHARP offers students opportunities to meaningfully apply class content directly to life experiences to increase management and acceptance of asthma.
  • School Board Members

    Health is essential for learning

    • Asthma is the leading chronic condition and leading cause of disability in childhood with prevalence estimates ranging from 7—17%.
    • More than 9 million children in the U.S. are diagnosed with asthma. Approximately 4 million U.S. children experience asthma symptoms annually and 300 die each year with asthma listed as the primary cause.
    • Children aged 9—14 years have increase morbidity and mortality over all other age groups across the lifespan. 
    • School absenteeism of students with asthma in the U.S. is 3.5 times higher than those of students without asthma or more than 14 million school days per year.
    • Children and adolescents share that many of the psychosocial challenges they confront are associated with school situations and activities.
  • School Teachers

    Asthma impacts students’ school performance

    • Students spend the majority of their waking hours in school, making it a critical place to access and intervene with them.
    • The natural setting for learning to occur is in schools during instructional time. Students actively engaged in the learning process in school settings are more inclined to take in, process and retain content.
    • Teachers guide students though the 10-session, 120-page SHARP Keepsake Workbook that was designed to be colorful, educational and developmentally-appropriate, as well as gender, race and culturally diverse.
    • Adolescents with asthma and their caregivers as well as school personnel and healthcare providers who work with them agree that grade 5 is the most appropriate timing to intervene because students begin to assume increase responsibility for managing their condition as they transition from elementary to middle or junior high school. 
    • Students are offered a personal choice to accept responsibility for management of their asthma early in the program and are then provided guidance to reach their goals.
  • Public Health Educators and Community Partners

    Asthma literacy impacts community-wide health outcomes

    • Asthma health education is important for students with asthma and members of their social network.
    • Healthcare professionals and healthcare systems manage asthma with medications, environmental changes and behavior modifications.
    • Community action groups and state, national and international organizations and foundations advocate for children and their families. 
    • Asthma information sharing events staged as health fairs have the potential to reach virtually all members of the community through students with asthma enrolled in the SHARP program.
    • By working together, we can ensure that all people with asthma enjoy a high quality of life.

Make a Difference by Becoming a SHARP Team Member

Champions coordinate dissemination and implementation of the SHARP program within their community.

  • Champions coordinate dissemination and implementation of the SHARP components within their community and participate in quality monitoring and process evaluation.
  • Champions must have (a) the desire to advocate for children with asthma and members of their social network, (b) communication and social skills required to bring together diverse members of the community with a shared vision and mission and (c) basic management, office and computer skills.
  • Champions (a) promote SHARP components to school board members, administrators, superintendents, and principals as well as school nurses, school teachers, parent groups and public health educators; (b) secure support for implementing the school and community components from school administrators, school board members, principals and public health educators and (c) engage in community action in support of the SHARP program. 
  • Champions (a) complete online orientation and training to their roles and responsibilities, (b) are provided public relations products and materials and (c) are fully supported by SHARP administrative team.

School Teachers deliver the School Component to older school age students with asthma enrolled in grades 4-6.

  • School teachers deliver the school component to students with asthma in schools during instructional time and participate in quality monitoring and process evaluation.
  • School teachers must (a) be certified to teach in the state and district, (b) be willing and able, with training, to guide students through an integrated asthma health education and counseling self-management workbook and (c) have communication and organizational skills necessary for scheduling in school sessions.
  • School teachers (a) collaborate with school personnel to schedule days, times, and meetings rooms, (b) assemble session supplies, (c) gather students from their classrooms, (d) guide students through their workbooks, (e) obtain digital photos of students creative expressions, (f) arrange for color printing of the photos to serve as the cover of the students’ workbook and (e) submit students’ work for competitive posting on the SHARP website. child's color drawing of teacher and children in discussion
  • School teachers (a) complete online orientation and training to their roles and responsibilities, (b) are provided curriculum guides, student workbooks, and teaching/learning supplies and (c) are fully supported by the SHARP administrative team.

School Liaisons invite students and their caregivers to participate in the School and Community Components.

  • School liaisons invite students with asthma enrolled in grades 4–6 and their caregivers to participate in the SHARP program and engage in quality monitoring and process evaluation.
  • School liaisons must (a) be employed by the district, (b) be able to identify students with asthma enrolled in grades 4–6, (c) have communication and social skills required to recruit students with asthma and their caregivers to participate in the school program and (d) have basic management, office, and computer skills.
  • School liaisons (a) promote SHARP components to students with asthma and members of their social network, (b) oversee mailing of notification and recruitment packets to all caregivers of all students in the district, (c) reach out to caregivers of students with asthma inviting participation in the school component and (d) submit aggregate data required to estimate the impact of SHARP on school absenteeism of students with asthma. 
  • School liaisons (a) complete online orientation and training to their roles and responsibilities, (b) are provided public relations resources and materials and (c) are fully supported by the SHARP administrative team.

Public Health Educators deliver the Community Component to the invited members of the students’ social network.

  • Public health educators assist champions in organizing the community component and deliver the scripted, 90-minute interactive community information sharing slide presentation.
  • Public health educators must (a) be experienced in public speaking and health teaching, (b) be certified as an asthma educator through professional training or continued education and (c) have communication skills for actively engaging individuals across the lifespan in dynamic interaction.
  • Public health educators (a) collaborate with SHARP champions to organize the community component, (b) train the child care preschool component facilitators, (c) conduct the dynamic information sharing presentation with question and answer discussion during the community component, and (d) share specialized knowledge with individuals and group members to advance community-wide asthma health literacy. 
  • Public health educators (a) complete online orientation and training to their roles and responsibilities, (b) are provided scripted PowerPoint slides and (c) are fully supported by the SHARP administrative team.