NASP Site Selection Information
After deciding to coordinate an asthma screening, the next – and often the most important – step is picking the site. Community festivals and fitness centers, shopping malls and schools are just some of the sites allergists participating in the Nationwide Asthma Screening Program have used to draw crowds. The screening program includes nasal allergies, in addition to asthma and exercise-induced bronchoconstriction (EIB).
Following are tips on selecting a screening site, including:
- Site selection criteria.
- Sites to reach children and people with sports and fitness interests.
- Location and equipment needs.
Site selection is only one component of a successful screening program; getting the word out also is essential. Reports from screening program coordinators show that those who secured media publicity consistently had higher turnouts than those who did not. Sample media materials and detailed information on generating advance publicity are included in the screening program manual.
Here are some locations to consider when selecting a screening site.
Shopping malls are often a popular site for many screening programs. The ready-made audience representing a cross-section of the community helps ensure good attendance.
Communities and hospitals often hold annual health fairs that can be a perfect venue. Check with the event coordinators to determine estimated attendance and planned programs and activities, since you’ll be competing for attention.
Grocery stores and large discount and retail stores offer a ready-made audience. The key to success is advance publicity, finding a high-traffic location within the store and providing signage that directs shoppers to you. If you are working with a store that is part of a regional chain, publicize the screening by displaying posters and distributing flyers with each of the chain’s locations in your area. Several screening program coordinators have partnered with regional grocery and drug store chains to conduct simultaneous screenings at several locations.
Community sporting events, such as a marathon or tournament, can provide big crowds and a good opportunity to screen for exercise-induced bronchoconstriction (EIB). Fitness centers, recreational sports leagues and youth sports programs also are potential outlets for a screening. Detailed information on selecting these types of sites is enclosed. If the event is outdoors, make sure you have a source of electricity and be prepared for the possibility of bad weather. (Also see our tips for for fitness and sports-related sites.)
Inner-city locations, such as community centers, housing developments and health centers, can help reach urban minorities who are at greater risk for asthma and are more likely to not have the disease under control.
Some coordinators have had successful screenings during festivals and county fairs. Again, advance preparation is important since many of these events are outdoors.
Some coordinators have conducted screenings that targeted specific groups of people. For example, screenings have been held in Chinese- and Polish-ancestry communities, at Catholic, Methodist, Presbyterian and Greek Orthodox churches, at synagogues and mosques, at local union headquarters and retirement communities. Other potential groups are fraternal organizations such as the Lions, Elks and Kiwanis, women’s and senior citizen organizations and community service groups. Since these targeted screenings are not always open to the public, advance publicity within the organization is very important. Evaluate the opportunities for flyer distribution, newsletter article placement and poster displays.
From automotive plants to local banks, many screenings are in the workplace, either in conjunction with a health and wellness fair or as a separate event. Approach employers to determine their interest. Your local Chamber of Commerce will have a list of businesses. In discussing a screening with a company representative (usually someone from human resources or public relations), emphasize how the proper diagnosis and treatment of asthma and allergies lowers health care costs and improves worker productivity. If the employer agrees to conduct a screening, discuss opportunities for advance publicity to employees. Additional information on conducting workplace screenings is included in the screening program manual.
Several coordinators have selected state capitals as sites for their screening, not only to find those at risk for asthma and allergies, but also to raise awareness among legislators. Consider partnering with your local chapter of the American Lung Association. ALA chapters are often very involved with legislative activities and can be a valuable resource. If you don’t have a state government contact at the capital, call the general number at the capital and ask to speak with someone in special events. This person will likely serve as your contact and can help with invitations, obtaining a gubernatorial proclamation and equipment or space needs. Additional information on conducting a state capital screening is included in the screening program manual.
Most screening programs for the general public will attract children and their
parents, but screenings also can be held at locations that are particularly child-friendly. Possibilities include:
- Activity centers
- Amusement parks
- Toy stores
- Sporting events (football games, soccer tournaments, Little League, etc.)
- Summer camps
- Park district facilities
Also contact community organizations, such as the Boys and Girls Clubs of America and the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, to determine opportunities for a screening program.
The timing of your screening is up to you. Many coordinators choose to have an event in May, National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month. Other allergists have decided a fall event is good for them, as back-to-school and changing weather conditions often bring suffering to allergy and asthma patients. Register your date and location for your screening with the College.
Most sites chosen for screening programs do not require a rental fee because the program is a public service. If you select a site that requires a fee, ask if the fee can be waived since the screening program is part of a nonprofit national public service campaign conducted by the College to increase asthma and allergy awareness. If the fee cannot be waived, consider another location. Additional funding is not available from ACAAI for site fees.
The majority of sites chosen for screening programs do not require special liability insurance. If, however, the management of the site raises the issue, contact ACAAI at firstname.lastname@example.org or 847-427-1200 to determine if coverage is available through the College. Usually it can be provided at no cost.
Site Selection Criteria
This checklist can help you select a screening program site.
- Look for space in high-traffic locations such as a shopping mall, civic center, community hospital lobby or health fair.
- Walk through the site to determine physical set-up.
- Determine dates and times for the screening. Check to see what other events are occurring at the site on the proposed screening date that might either compete or help generate traffic.
- Ask about insurance liability and permit requirements, if any.
- Identify equipment needs such as tables, chairs and easels (see the equipment checklist), and determine what can be provided by the operator of the site.
- Determine electrical access. You will need electricity for spirometers and a television/DVD player if you want to display the educational DVD.
- Find out if the location allows signs or flyer distribution for publicity before or during the event. For instance, in a mall, ask if flyers and posters can be distributed or displayed in food courts and stores. In a hospital, ask if flyers or posters can be displayed at the information desk, cafeteria or in literature racks.
- If the screening program is held in a community hospital or mall, place a notice in the hospital newsletter or mall merchant newsletter. Plan ahead so you don’t miss publication deadlines.
- Ask about public address announcements. As a public service, some malls and retail stores will agree to announcements periodically throughout the day to help drive traffic to the screening.
- Determine storage space. If a screening is more than one day, make arrangements for a secure place for overnight storage of screening equipment.
Day-Of-Screening Equipment Checklist
When you sign up as a coordinator, we’ll send you a link to an electronic toolkit packed with all the materials you need to make your screening a success. You can customize and print, in-house, registration forms, patient education materials, children’s activity sheets and more.
Here is a checklist of other equipment and supplies you may need for your screening.
- Allergist referral lists.
- Information about sources of care for the indigent and medically indigent. (These should be available and provided as appropriate.)
- Spirometers. (Bring equipment from your office or check with local hospitals, clinics or vendors to see if you can borrow machines.)
- Disposable mouthpieces for spirometers.
- Computer or television, if you wish to show the educational video on asthma and/or the PowerPoint presentations.
- Tables for registering screening program participants, displaying educational materials, administering spirometer tests and allergist/participant counseling.
- Chairs for staff and participants.
- Easels for displaying posters and other signs.
- Clipboards for completing registration and report forms.
- Ballpoint pens.
- String for fastening pens to the clipboards.
- Drinking water and paper cups.
- Trash cans.
- Staple remover.
- Duct tape.
- Extension cord.