Community engagement project targets asthma

postma-80TACOMA, Wash. – Patient-centered research to improve the quality of life for those affected by asthma is one of five Washington state projects to receive funding recently from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute, or PCORI.

The project will focus on developing strategic partnerships between individuals, families and communities affected by asthma and health care partners interested in promoting asthma prevention and management.

The project, “Puget Sound Asthma Coalition: A Community, Clinical and Academic Partnership,” will be headed by two nurses from the Puget Sound Asthma Coalition. Julie Postma, assistant professor at Washington State University College of Nursing, and Mary Walsh, manager of pediatric ambulatory programs at MultiCare Health System, will lead the work through the MultiCare Institute for Research and Innovation.

Discussions lead to research project

The coalition will host community round table discussions called “cafés” in Pierce County with community members affected by asthma. Each café will explore successes and challenges to preventing and managing asthma.

This process will inform a future collaborative research idea to be refined in partnership with community members and leaders. The funds will also help the coalition develop research infrastructure, such as an advisory council and strategic plan.

The effort is one of 30 “Pipeline to Proposal” projects seed-funded by PCORI to help build communities interested in advancing patient- and stakeholder-driven health research nationwide. Postma led the coalition in applying for the grant.

“The Puget Sound Asthma Coalition is integrating and optimizing care between patients, their providers and community-based services,” said Postma. “Innovation requires inquiry. We are excited to provide opportunities for patients and patient advocates to get involved in the research process.”

About the agencies

The award is among the first to be made through PCORI’s new Eugene Washington PCORI Engagement Awards program ( A panel comprised of patients, stakeholders, and researchers selected the funded proposals. All are approved pending a programmatic and budget review by PCORI staff and negotiation of a formal contract.

PCORI has contracted with the nonprofit, Denver-based Colorado Foundation for Public Health and the Environment ( to serve as the intermediate funder for the pilot program. CFPHE will provide fiscal, programmatic and operational services to this first group of Pipeline to Proposal awardees.

Learn more about PCORI at Learn more about the WSU College of Nursing at Learn more about the MultiCare Institute for Research & Innovation at



Mary Walsh, Puget Sound Asthma Coalition, 253-403-3238,

Christine Stencel, PCORI, 202-827-7707,

Alli Benjamin, WSU College of Nursing, 509-324-7340,