Press Releases

Children’s Minnesota supports asthma management in schools through its $500,000 grant from Kohl’s Cares

Breathing makes learning easier for children with asthma at Minneapolis and St. Paul schools

MINNEAPOLIS – (February 28, 2019) – Asthma is the number one cause of school absenteeism for kids ages 5 to 17. Research shows that early intervention in asthma management can reduce the amount of class time students miss as a result of their disease. In an effort to help children control their asthma so they can remain engaged, successful learners, Children’s Minnesota will continue to use its $500,000, two-year grant from Kohl’s Cares to provide resources to Minneapolis and St. Paul Public Schools and the KIPP charter school.

Data from the first school year of the grant from Kohl’s Cares demonstrated a more than 10 percent decrease in unscheduled visits to the health office for unmanaged asthma symptoms across all partner schools. This success in supporting asthmatic students was achieved through a variety of activities, which include:

  • Using grant dollars to provide students with access to spacers, or Aerochambers, to ensure the effective use of meter-dose-inhaled medications. Using a spacer helps deliver the inhaled medication to the airways instead of the mouth and throat, making the medication more effective.
  • Creating an interactive poster that explains the effect asthma has on lungs.
  • Supporting the Community Connect program at Children’s Minnesota asthma clinics, which targets broader social factors – like mold, insect and pest infestations – that impact health. Through Community Connect, families can access supportive resources such as on-site legal assistance.

Additionally, Children’s Minnesota has empowered school health professionals by providing tools and educational opportunities focused on pediatric asthma, such as:

  • A professional development conference for licensed school nurses and school health assistants, which covered a range of topics related to pediatric asthma including goals for asthma management, identifying asthma triggers, and managing asthma medication.
  • An online webpage for school health professionals that hosts videos from the professional development conference.
  • Facilitating a pilot program, at select schools, that enables Children’s Minnesota to receive remote access to students’ medical records for general pediatric patients with parental consent. The pilot program also allows school health professionals to quickly view a child’s asthma action plan or other medications needed to provide appropriate care in school.

“The generosity by Kohl’s has helped us develop partnerships with local schools to ensure kids and parents don’t have to worry about asthma management and flare-ups during the school day,” said Dr. Gigi Chawla, chief of general pediatrics at Children’s Minnesota. “Helping school health professionals better understand and have a partner in managing asthma symptoms is a huge step toward letting kids with asthma just be kids, be healthier in the classroom and able to stay in school.”

In 2019, Children’s Minnesota is deepening its partnerships with local schools by piloting new ways to provide school health professionals and asthmatic students with access to clinical support. A unique program will be initially trialed in a Saint Paul elementary school that will give school nurses the opportunity to connect with Children’s Minnesota clinicians for advice when a child comes to the school nurse’s office with uncontrolled asthma symptoms. The opportunity to intervene in the early stages of an asthma flare-up can help reduce emergency department visits and decrease the number of days a child with asthma may need to miss school.

Since 2001, Kohl’s has donated nearly $7 million to Children’s Minnesota. Other Children’s Minnesota initiatives supported through Kohl’s Cares include school and community influenza vaccine clinics, flu prevention education and outreach efforts in local schools, and the Children’s pediatric mobile simulation lab.

About Children’s Minnesota
Children’s Minnesota is the seventh largest pediatric health system in the United States and the only health system in Minnesota to provide care exclusively to children, from before birth through young adulthood. An independent and not-for-profit system since 1924, Children’s serves kids throughout the Upper Midwest at two free-standing hospitals, 12 primary and specialty care clinics and six rehabilitation sites. Additionally, Children’s is Minnesota’s only Level I pediatric trauma center inside a hospital dedicated solely to children. Children’s maintains its longstanding commitment to the community to improve children’s health by providing high-quality, family-centered pediatric services and advancing those efforts through research and education. This work is made possible in large part by generous philanthropic and volunteer support from individuals and organizations throughout the state and region. An award-winning health system, Children’s received Magnet® recognition from The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) and was verified as a Level I Children’s Surgery Center by the American College of Surgeons in 2018. Additionally, Children’s is regularly ranked by U.S. News & World Report as a top children’s hospital. Please visit

Kaitlyn Kamleiter