What are you working on now?

I have two exciting asthma-related projects that are currently the focus of my attention, and they are very different in the ways that they might potentially help people deal with their asthma. One project involves the creation of a collaborative of asthma educators working at community health centers across our state (Massachusetts). These asthma educators are nurses, medical assistants, and community health workers engaged in the care of patients living in difficult circumstances, challenged by both their asthma and their poverty. Through our on-line collaborative (MABetterBreathing.org), we hope to provide these asthma educators with enhanced resources for their work and for the education of their patients. The other project is more ambitious and more “techie.” With my colleagues here at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, I am seeking to develop an asthma app for the smartphone with a unique feature: the ability to detect changes in the user’s breathing based on sophisticated, computer-based analysis of his/her speech. Our goal is to help persons with asthma identify deterioration in their breathing before a crisis (serious asthma “attack”) develops. Stay tuned!