Innovation in Asthma Research
As ethnographers, we are familiar with origin stories, and The Asthma Files possesses its own. Mike Fortun and Kim Fortun first envisioned The Asthma Files while participating in an NIH-funded collaborative effort (led by health policy researcher Alexandra Shields, director of the Center for Genetics, Health Disparities and Vulnerable Populations at Harvard) to develop gene-environment interaction research responsive to health disparities, using asthma as a case study. A key event in this collaborative effort was a June 2006 workshop at Harvard brought together diverse researchers to consider possibilities and challenges. A key goal was to identify genetic study designs that incorporated sound environmental indicators.