TUCSON, Ariz. — A University of Arizona research center is teaming up with a respiratory hospital in Denver to improve asthma care on the Navajo Nation.

The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute recently awarded an $8.5 million grant to the entities.

The university’s Health Sciences Asthma and Airway Disease Research Center and the National Jewish Health say asthma rates are up to three times higher among Navajos than the general population.

The researchers will work with children, schools and nurses on diagnosing and managing asthma. They’ll later study changes in health, and urgent care and hospital visits to see if things improved.

The program will be implemented in Tuba City, Chinle and Fort Defiance in the Arizona portion of the reservation.

Researchers say community groups will provide guidance.

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