Thanai Pongdee, M.D.
Senior Associate Consultant, Allergy & Pulmonary Medicine
Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, Florida
Asthma is an immense public health problem on both a national and global scale. Dramatic increases in the prevalence and morbidity of asthma have been disproportionately high in African Americans (AAs), who are more likely to have asthma, more likely to experience asthma-related emergency department visits and hospitalizations, and more likely to die from asthma than whites. Of particular interest is the observation that AAs also have a high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency. Emerging evidence suggests that vitamin D may play important roles in modulating a wide range of chronic inflammatory conditions, including asthma. Thus potential links between asthma and vitamin D may provide a potential explanation for the observed health disparities in AAs with asthma. To explore this concept, AA adults will be enrolled to undergo vitamin D testing, asthma morbidity measurement, allergy testing and spirometry. We will examine the prevalence of vitamin D insufficiency (<25ng/mL) and deficiency (<15ng/mL) among those individuals with and without asthma. In addition, we will also determine the relationship between vitamin D levels and markers of asthma severity in those with asthma. Our study will partner with a large AA community in Jacksonville, Florida, and build upon two projects being conducted at the Mayo Clinic campus in Jackson, Florida; and at Edward Waters College (EWC). By better understanding the relationships between asthma and vitamin D insufficiency/deficiency in this community, we continue a partnership to reduce and eliminate health disparities in the AA community in Jacksonville, Florida.