Skip to Main Content
Skip Nav Destination
Boy with asthma inhaler

Session to help pediatricians identify, address asthma disparities

September 19, 2022

Editor's note:  For more coverage of the 2022 AAP National Conference & Exhibition, visit

Growing up, Akilah A. Jefferson, M.D., M.Sc., FAAP, knew firsthand how challenging it was to live with asthma.

“As a kid, some of my most vivid memories are going to my allergist, getting nebulizer treatments, having my inhaler and my friends all knowing that I had asthma,” said Dr. Jefferson, who now is an allergist-immunologist at Arkansas Children’s Hospital. “I had allergic rhinitis. I have eczema and food allergies. I think it’s very important for me and kind of drives me to think about other kids who are like me growing up who have this problem, and hopefully, one day, we can make it a little bit easier for them.”

Dr. Jefferson will share her personal and professional expertise when she presents “Asthma Disparities: What Can the Pediatrician Do?” (S4210) from 9-10 a.m. PST Monday, Oct. 10 in rooms 156/160 of the convention center. The session also will be livestreamed.

An assistant professor at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Dr. Jefferson will discuss actions pediatricians can take through individual patient care and advocacy to reduce asthma disparities. The session will focus on access to high-quality care, including pharmacologic agents such as biologics, and addressing social determinants of health and environmental health.

“We see a lot of severe asthma patients,” Dr. Jefferson said. “With so many of these patients, it’s so much more than just clinical information. So, how many medications they’re taking, if it’s this inhaler versus that inhaler. Do they have transportation? Do they have issues with coverage of certain medications? Do they have pets in the house? If you go down that road, you see certain populations tend to suffer from certain social determinants more than others, in particular children of color.”

The session also will focus on history to elicit social needs, including unhealthy housing, and how to link patients to resources to meet those needs.

“I think in medicine, traditionally, we think of the doctor-patient relationship in clinic and what happens there,” Dr. Jefferson said. “But it’s really thinking of it more broadly and what is happening outside the clinic and how we can intervene on that level as well. I want participants to think of those unique ways in which medicine is really everywhere and not just within the clinic doors.”

Dr. Jefferson, a member of the AAP Section on Allergy and Immunology, also plans to discuss health disparities between rural and urban patients. For example, children in rural areas may not have transportation to get to appointments. Telemedicine can help, she said, but challenges remain.

“We need to try to stay active and really talk to legislators so they understand the impacts of a proposed law,” she said, “and really try to advocate for specific things that we see that are important for our patients.”

For more information on the National Conference, visit View the conference schedule at

Close Modal

or Create an Account

Close Modal
Close Modal