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Health Care Hero: Zalika Shani

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Zalika Shani, MPH, MCHES; Program Manager, Kids Asthma Management 

Program (KAMP), Crozer-Keystone Community Health Education

Asthma triggers like pollution, mice, cockroaches and mold are prevalent in low-income neigh-borhoods. So it’s no surprise that in the city of Chester, the asthma rate among children is 25 percent higher than the state average. 

Zalika Shani knows that the best way to fight asthma is to control it—and that’s what she teaches kids and their families. Shani has created the only school-based asthma-education curriculum in Delaware County. She also runs the K.A.M.P. during the summer and serves on the Pediatric Asthma Task Force of Delaware County. Her message is self-management: Identify triggers, take prescribed medicine and know the signs of an oncoming attack.

Educating teachers, school nurses and family members is also a key component. “You only have to see a child having an asthma attack once to understand how debilitating it can be,” says Shani. “Everyone—including the child—can be educated on how to prevent it.”