Tammy Rood – Faculty Highlight

After 25 years of nursing, Tammy has made a significant impact on the lives of countless children and their families through her focus on Asthma control.

Assistant Teaching Professor

From an early age, Tammy Rood saw first-hand the pain and anguish that a family goes through with a sick child. Her brother suffered from a brain tumor, and those memories’ effect on her and watching her parents cope with his fight are still fresh today. To speak to Tammy, you can see how that experience has made her a strong advocate for helping children. Her work revolves around Pediatric Nursing, specifically aimed at helping children who have asthma.

Tammy Rood assisting a parent with asthma equipment
Tammy Rood showing a parent and child how to use asthma equipment.

Since 2008 while doing her PNP master’s degree here at the Sinclair School of Nursing, Tammy has focused on childhood asthma and is changing how patients and providers treat and support those with the condition. Ironically, when educating healthcare providers to use asthma tools for airflow monitoring, she discovered that she, too, has asthma. “No one needs to suffer and everyone should be controlled,” Tammy says. After 25 years of nursing, Tammy has made a significant impact on the lives of countless children and their families. “It’s like the kids become your family. The kids return for follow-up visits and share stories about being confident enough to coach friends and family to take their inhalers correctly, too. Or they proudly share how they taught family members to use hypertonic saline rinses to open the nasal airway and clear allergens. It is so rewarding to hear them repeat the asthma key messages I’ve shared and help others,” states Tammy. 

For more than a decade, through funding from the Missouri Asthma Prevention and Control Program and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Tammy has been working with school nurses so they have the tools necessary to identify warning signs and aid children with inhaler best practices. She also works to extend these asthma care resources to health practitioners in clinics around Missouri through an MU program called Asthma Ready® Communities. In addition, Tammy is a leader in Asthma ECHO® (Extension for Community Health Outcomes), a telehealth learning collaborative designed to help rural clinics, schools, and other health workers adopt asthma best practices to care for children in their home community. The MU ECHO team has been asked to partner with ECHO India to adapt this approach to meet the needs of healthcare workers and families in the second-largest country in the world, where asthma is a leading cause of child morbidity and deaths.

Tammy Rood showing a child asthma equipment
Tammy Rood shows a child the proper way to use asthma equipment.

Lack of access to and support for asthma care is a significant barrier across rural communities. Technology-driven asthma care at home is a promising approach for high-risk children whose families struggle with access to a healthy home. Tammy is working with an MU research team on a novel solution. The project is supported by the MU Center for Health Policy, Missouri Foundation for Health, NuvoAir (a Swedish technology and telehealth company) and the Center for Rural Health Innovation at BioSTL (St Louis-based technology incubator). In partnership with local clinicians, this in-home project aims to study the effectiveness of improving medication adherence and self-management skills while closely monitoring lung function at home. Tammy isn’t stopping there; this work is touching countless lives and we are proud that Tammy is teaching Sinclair School of Nursing students to follow in her footsteps.

When Tammy isn’t focused on nursing, she spends time at Pea Ridge Forest, her family’s 50-year-old tree farm in Hermann, MO. For someone devoted to the quality of breathing, it is only fitting that her passion is also the beautiful rows of trees and farmland. To anyone that would visit, you’d instantly breathe a little easier.

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