The “BACK” Program: A Community-Engaged Partnership

What is now called the “BACK” Program, Better Asthma Control for Kids, began in 2006 as a community-engaged partnership between pediatric asthma experts at the University of Colorado, National Jewish, and Colorado school nurses with a shared mission to address health disparities in asthma care.

“The BACK program is amazing. I see a lot of kids who don’t use their inhalers correctly and don’t have a solid understanding of asthma. The same with the parents — they often haven’t been given information about asthma that would benefit them.”  – A School Nurse

The core components of this program have been delivered in the Denver Public Schools by other names:

2006 – Needs Assessment and Outreach Program

2008 – Pilot American Lung Association “Open Airways for Schools”

2009 – Step Up asthma counselor education and monitoring program

2012 – Building Bridges school RN care coordination program

2015 – Step Up expansion and Technical Assistance

2018 – AsthmaCOMP implementation and dissemination to new school districts; partner with CDE Regional Hubs

2020  “Stop Asthma Attacks” NHLBI DECIPHeR Implementation and Dissemination to school districts in rural Colorado and mid-sized urban cities

2023 – AsthmaCOMP Expansion, Stop Asthma Attacks becomes the “BACK Program”

An overarching goals of the BACK program are to:

    • Support school nurses to identify students with uncontrolled asthma

    • Teach students and families successful asthma self-management strategies

    • Help coordinate asthma care management

Our asthma experts are faculty at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, including Drs. Stan Szefler and Lisa Cicutto.

With grant support from Colorado Cancer Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Disease Grants program and Glaxo-Smith-Kline, we have sustained our program in schools in the metropolitan Denver area since 2006, and have also supported other satellite programs and pediatric asthma trainings in other areas of Colorado and across the country in Connecticut, New Jersey and Florida.

In 2020, we received funding from the National Institutes of Health to work with several communities across Colorado to scale out this successful program to new areas of Colorado.

In 2023-2024, the BACK Program is engaged with schools in these regions:

    • Pikes Peak

    • Lower Arkansas Valley

    • Greeley/Morgan/Weld

    • Mesa/Delta

We have been working with Community Advisory Boards across the state to accomplish this goal in a way that fits the unique priorities, resources and needs of school districts and communities in different areas of Colorado.

To learn more, contact us.

This is a map of Colorado showing where the BACK program is active in 2024. HIghlighted locations are Greeley, Morgan, Weld County, Mesa county, Montrose, Pike Peak area, lower arkansas valley