Rob Wilson, Ph.D
Final Abstract for URS Program
Asthma is a common disease that causes airways to become inflamed and swell, which leads to difficulty breathing, wheezing, coughing, and asthma attacks. Asthma can be triggered by things such as dust, pollen, colds, pollutants, and household pests. In St. Louis, asthma is highly prevalent, with both cases and hospitalizations well above state and national averages. The asthma problem also reveals stark health disparities between St. Louis’s white and African American populations, with African American children comprising a disproportionate majority of asthma hospitalizations and emergency department visits. This project is concerned with investigating the underlying causes behind St. Louis’ asthma problem and its disparities. St. Louis is an automotive-friendly city with several industries, leading to higher amounts of industrial pollutants in residential areas. Additionally, asthma is managed by multiple interventions requiring access to supportive healthcare infrastructure, transportation, and adequate housing. Addressing these underlying social issues of equity and access is essential to dealing with asthma in St. Louis.