Robert Lemanske, MD: National Leadership for Childhood Asthma

A group photo taken at the School-based Management for Asthma Summit, sponsored by the AAAAI with additional support from the National Association of School Nurses. From left: Paul V. Williams, MD, FAAAAI; Stanley Szefler, MD, FAAAAI; Donna Mazyck, MS, RN, NCSN; Michelle Cloutier, MD; Robert F. Lemanske, Jr., MD, FAAAAI; Wanda Phipatanakul, MD, MS, FAAAAI; Sujani Kakumanu, MD, FAAAAI; and Nicholas Antos, MD
Above: A group photo taken at the
School-based Management for Asthma
Summit, sponsored by the AAAAI
with additional support from the National
Association of School Nurses. From left:
Paul V. Williams, MD, FAAAAI; Stanley
Szefler, MD, FAAAAI; Donna Mazyck,
MS, RN, NCSN; Michelle Cloutier,
MD; Robert F. Lemanske, Jr., MD,
FAAAAI; Wanda Phipatanakul, MD, MS,
FAAAAI; Sujani Kakumanu, MD,
FAAAAI; and Nicholas Antos, MD

Robert Lemanske, MD, had substantial accomplishments in 2015 as president of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI).

Shortly after becoming president in March 2015, he created the new AAAAI Office of School-Based Management of Asthma and Allergic/Immunologic Diseases, which promotes asthma action plans and food allergy education in elementary schools nationwide.

In April 2015, Dr. Lemanske and other AAAAI leaders visited Capitol Hill to show support for the School Asthma Management Plan Act, a new bill introduced by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY). The bill would provide for federal support to help schools develop asthma management plans and purchase medication and equipment to treat students affected by asthma.

Asthma is one of the leading causes of school absenteeism; each year, 1 in 2 children nationwide with asthma miss at least one day of school due to the disease (CDC).

In October 2015, with Dr. Lemanske’s leadership and generous support from the National Association of School Nurses, AAAAI held a national summit to create a program within the new school-based office initiative specifically aimed at asthma management.

Summit attendees developed the new School-based Asthma Management Program (SAMPRO) based on a concept called the Circle of Support, which articulates the roles of clinicians, schools, families and communities in caring for children with asthma. Their recommendations will be published in a white paper to be released on the AAAAI website in 2016.

Here in Madison, Dr. Lemanske and Kathleen Shanovich, NP, collaborated with UW Health pediatricians to prioritize completing asthma action plans in patients’ electronic health records (EHRs) and faxing them to the appropriate school nurse.

In addition, Shanovich and colleague Sujani Kakumanu, MD, are implementing a new grant that will better enable Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD) school nurses to access those action plans electronically. Through this pilot project, three MMSD school nurses will receive HIPAA training and, with parental consent, gain access to a patient’s EHR—so they can be an integral part of a child’s care team and communicate directly with providers. 

Dr. Lemanske and Shanovich also partnered with AAAAI colleagues to create a school nurse asthma toolbox with samples of asthma action plans, inhaler instructions and other resources. The toolbox will also be available on the AAAAI website.

Finally, Dr. Lemanske planned the Life Spectrum of Asthma, an AAAAI-sponsored education meeting to help asthma subspecialists stay up to date and bring the latest research into practice. The July 2016 event will focus on asthma inception and progression in young children, biologic therapies for asthma exacerbation, prevention and treatment of severe asthma, and asthma and COPD overlap syndrome.

His last official duty as president was to deliver “The Origins of Childhood Asthma,” the presidential plenary session at AAAAI’s 2016 annual meeting in March 2016.