African American children living in Chicago are 8 times more likely to die from an asthma attack than their white counterparts. In the predominantly hispanic Chicago neighborhood of Humboldt Park, 41% of children suffer from asthma. These populations have limited access to healthcare and often end up in the Emergency Room (ER) for asthma attacks.

Many evidence-based care strategies have demonstrated the ability to improve asthma control, but uncertainty remains about how best to implement, integrate, and sustain these strategies in settings where children live, learn, play, and receive medical care.


Team: Bates, Berlin, Cheng, Ge, Jiang, Nair, Schneiderman, Spence, Tashakorinia




We conducted research with five different stakeholder groups: ER physicians, ER nurses, ER nurse administrators, primary care physicians and caregivers of children with asthma. We made observations at primary care clinics, asthma specialists’ clinics and one medical call center and at all 6 participating ERs. During our interviews, we employed incentive techniques to better understand both the patient journey and the clinicians’ processes.



Bridging the communication gab by creating an immersive built environment to communicate massive interview data, build user empathy and set the stage for co-analysis workshop

Workshop session in asthma room

Workshop session in asthma room