A Nurse led Model of Asthma Care integrating Bilingual Community Healthcare Workers to Improve Outcomes in Culturally and Linguistically Diverse communities (the ABC-CALD STUDY)

Western Health Associate Professor Lata Jayaram

Western Health

A/Prof Lata Jayaram is a Respiratory and Sleep Medicine Physician. Following clinical research fellowships at McMaster University, Canada, and Australia focusing on airways disorders, Lata has practiced at Western Health and is affiliated with the University of Melbourne. She is a Clinician – Researcher with expertise in asthma, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and bronchiectasis.

Project Status: In progress, commenced January 2022

Grant Type: Project grant


There are simple, effective strategies to manage asthma, but they are not always successfully used in clinical practice. This is especially important for people who experience worse asthma outcomes, including those living in disadvantaged areas and people from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) backgrounds.

That’s why we are funding Lata Jayaram from Western Health to test a hospital-based model of care, led by nurses, and involving bilingual community healthcare workers.


About the research

This study aims to improve asthma control and reduce emergency department presentations and hospitalisations for asthma. The researchers are testing an asthma education strategy that is tailored to the needs of people from CALD communities.

People from CALD communities who are admitted to Western health for their asthma will be recruited to the study. One week after a hospital stay, they will be seen by a nurse educator and a bilingual healthcare work. During this session they will be given detailed asthma education. The patients will also be supported by phone and in person over the next 6 weeks. By training Bilingual health care workers to work alongside our asthma nurse educator, the researchers hope to demonstrate that a tailor-made program of asthma education will improve asthma outcomes.

Participants asthma control will be compared to people from CALD communities who receive the current standard of care, which does not include a bilingual healthcare worker.

If this research is successful, it is a model that could be made available easily and widely to all communities and health sectors, to provide better and more equitable asthma care.

“We hope that this research will improve asthma control, quality of life and the health care journey for all our patients.”  – Associate Professor Jayaram


Why was funding this research important?

Previous research has shown that models of care which are nurse led can effectively reduce hospital admissions and improve health outcomes in many chronic conditions. The researchers leading this project, have found that shorter, earlier nurse led interventions can improve asthma control and reduce asthma flare-ups.

They want to build on this evidence and partner with CALD communities, to reduce the inequities they face.

The vulnerabilities of our CALD communities in Victoria were highlighted during the 2016 thunderstorm asthma event. During the 2016 thunderstorm asthma event more than 300 people visited the Western Health emergency department for asthma, and 40% of the people admitted were from CALD communities. Sadly, ten people died during this event, of which six were people from CALD backgrounds.

Whilst we have simple, effective strategies to manage asthma, they are not successfully integrated into clinical practice, especially in our patients who present frequently to hospital. We have shown that an early intervention asthma nurse led education programme improves asthma control. The generous funding provided by Asthma Australia allows us to partner with CALD communities to trial a specifically tailored asthma education strategy.”  – Associate Professor Jayaram


The funding for this project was generously provided through the  
Ray O’Donnell Belgrave Lions Asthma Research