Asthma Center

It is estimated that more than 25 million people live with asthma in the United States and many of them are children whose families are unaware they have the disease.

The Asthma Center is dedicated to increasing awareness about asthma and the treatment options that are crucial to improving children’s outcomes. While asthma can be controlled, there is no cure. A child’s well-being and quality of life is dependent on the entire family’s understanding of an individualized treatment plan and immediate action when an asthma attack starts.

The Asthma Center’s signature program, Easy Breathing©, is a community-based asthma management program that translates the national asthma guidelines into a usable format for pediatricians and other health care providers. The program ensures that children, families, and physicians work together to manage asthma symptoms.

One of the Asthma Center’s key initiatives involves creating an “asthma neighborhood” in support of children and families affected by the condition. Researchers, families affected by asthma, the faith community, physicians, schools, pharmacies, community organizations and other stakeholders joined together to conduct a community needs assessment on asthma. The group also worked together to develop a clinical trial that will integrate four proven programs, including Easy Breathing, into a new model of care in the hopes of decreasing asthma-related emergency department visits, hospitalizations and school absences.

The Asthma Center was established in March 2001 based on the success of Easy Breathing, which changed pediatric asthma management throughout Connecticut.

Asthma Triggers

To keep airway inflammation to a minimum and to reduce symptoms, it is important to reduce and limit exposure to triggers that may bring on an asthma attack. Every child has different triggers, causing inflammation in the airways which then leads to asthma symptoms.

Common asthma triggers include:

  • Cockroaches
  • Cold air
  • Cold or other illness
  • Dust and dust mites
  • Emotions
  • Exercise
  • Mice
  • Molds
  • Pets
  • Pollens
  • Smoke
  • Strong smells, sprays and perfumes

Our Team

The Asthma Center at Connecticut Children’s is committed to reducing the burden of pediatric asthma in Connecticut and in communities across the country.

Jessica Hollenbach, PhD

Co-Director of the Asthma Center

Melanie Collins, MD

Co-Director of the Asthma Center

Sigrid Almeida

Research Assistant II

Brian Lesmes, BA

Administrative Assistant

Iris Becene

Research Intern

Kailee Martin

Data Entry Assistant

Our Research

The Asthma Center focuses its research on innovative approaches to asthma management. To date, Asthma Center staff have authored more than 31 publications.

  • The Provider and Organization in Asthma Guidelines
  • Easy Breathing Statewide Initiative
  • The Experience of Puerto Rican Families in the Emergency Department for Asthma
  • Healthy Hill Kids
  • Childhood Asthma Intervention Program
  • An Environmental Allergen Exposure Reduction Strategy
  • Studies of Asthma in Hispanic Children
  • Managed Care Organization Use of Pediatric Asthma Management Program
  • Easy Breathing Community Initiative
  • School-based Health Center Asthma Intervention Project
  • Effectiveness of an Allergen Reduction Intervention in Child Care Centers
  • Transplacental Transfer in the Development of Atopy
  • Use of Office of Spirometry in Managing Pediatric Asthma


Easy Breathing is a community-based asthma management program that translates national asthma guidelines into a useable format for clinicians.

The Asthma Center provides the tools and training that primary care practices need to administer Easy Breathing. Through onsite and web-based training by Connecticut Children’s staff, primary care providers can learn how to provide better asthma care to children.

To learn more about Easy Breathing, contact Jessica Hollenbach, PhD, AE-C, at 860.837.5333 or visit the Easy Breathing web page.

The Asthma Center offers spirometry training to clinicians and technicians who perform pulmonary function tests in independent pediatric practices.

Spirometry measures the mechanical functioning of the lungs and is an important tool in asthma assessment. Training takes place in two four-hour sessions that are at least one week apart.

Upon completion of the training, attendees are able to:

  • Correctly perform spirometry
  • Assess test quality and interpret results accurately
  • Understand and use predicted normal values
  • Recognize patterns of abnormality
  • Determine disease type and severity
  • Determine reversibility

For more information on spirometry training, download our spirometry brochure or call 860.545.9442.

Contact Us

For more information regarding the Easy Breathing program or other research initiatives, please call 860.545.9442 oreasybreathing [at] ( email us).

The Asthma Center at Connecticut Children’s is located at:

Connecticut Children’s Medical Center

10 Columbus Boulevard, 5th Floor Research Suite

Hartford, CT 06106.