In January 1999, representatives from more than 50 stakeholder groups met to discuss the need for an asthma educator certification process. The American Lung Association served as initial catalyst and convener. A nominating committee was selected, a slate of Board members proposed, and the stakeholders elected the first volunteer Board of Directors. The Board held its first meeting in September 2000, selected its officers and approved bylaws. The board is comprised of 17 individuals representing the multiple disciplines involved in asthma education, including allergy/immunology, behavioral science, emergency medicine, nursing, patient advocacy, environmental health, health education, medicine, pediatrics, pharmacy, public health, pulmonary and respiratory therapy. The Board also includes a Public member and an At-Large member. The first asthma educator certification examination was offered on September 19, 2002. Almost 100 candidates sat for the examination the first day.
The role of the asthma educator has increased over the past decade as research has shown the importance of a well-educated, informed patient. Currently, there are multiple "certificate" programs offered by various sources, including local American Lung Associations. There is no regulation of these programs and no means to measure outcomes. Patients, providers and healthcare payers will be assured that education provided by a Certified Asthma Educator ( AE-C®) is based upon scientifically sound concepts. The NAECB is the only organization in the United States with a national certification process. Asthma specialists recognize the need for a standardized process to certify asthma educators and to evaluate their effectiveness in disease management.