The American Lung Association’s Impact with COVID-19

The American Lung Association

Plus, the local initiative you can join

By Elizabeth Walton

Recently, the American Lung Association took a bold and lifesaving step for lung health as it launched its COVID-19 Action Initiative, a comprehensive $25M
effort to end COVID-19 and defend against future respiratory virus pandemics.

Impact of The American Lung Association

COVID-19, like most in the coronavirus family, is a respiratory disease. And the American Lung Association is uniquely positioned to have a substantial and rapid impact. Through its established research program, the Lung Association will be funding coronavirus awards and grants for preventive research, vaccines, and antivirals, and tapping into their established Airways Clinical Research Centers (ACRC) Network—the nation’s largest not-for-profit network of clinical
centers dedicated to asthma and COPD research.

One of the ACRC sites happens to be located in Tucson, Arizona. The University of Arizona Asthma and Airway Disease Research Center has a long history of conducting lung disease clinical trials. The Center started in 1971 as a small, specialized research effort in respiratory sciences at the University of Arizona College of Medicine. It has evolved into an internationally renowned, comprehensive center that combines the highest caliber of research, clinical care and teaching.

“The Lung Association has always played a key role in managing respiratory viruses ranging from our work with influenza to funding basic research on understanding COVID-19,” says American Lung Association President and
CEO Harold Wimmer. “We intend to serve as the convener of government, private industry, and public health organizations to form a coalition that ensures better preparedness to meet the virus outbreaks of the future.”

Education and Advocacy

In addition to raising funds to increase research, the Lung Association will support education and advocacy efforts to prepare for future threats from COVID-19 and other respiratory viruses.

“More than 36 million people in the U.S. suffer from lung disease, which places them at higher risk for experiencing complications of COVID-19, making it even more critical that we urgently work on reducing its impact,” Wimmer says. “Our
organization was founded on the principle of using education, advocacy, and research to eradicate tuberculosis, and we will use those same principles to ensure our nation can address today’s pandemic and is prepared for future lung infections like COVID-19.”

Virtual Fight for Air Climb

The American Lung Association in Arizona joins the hard work to protect lung health by hosting its first-ever Virtual Fight for Air Climb to eliminate COVID-19 and other lung diseases that affect our community. Through June 30, 2020,
community members can join this initiative by heading outdoors to one of the many beautiful mountain trails throughout Arizona (when safe and while practicing safe distancing) to #ClimbAgainstCOVID.

“This initiative is an ambitious undertaking, but with the help of our community, and communities across America, we can beat COVID-19 and better prepare for future respiratory viruses. The Lung Association has the experience and
resources to take this on,” says Elizabeth Walton, executive director of the American Lung Association in Arizona. To learn more about the Virtual Fight for Air Climb, visit https://bit.ly/virtualfightforairclimb.

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Elizabeth Walton is an Ohio native who relocated to Phoenix six years ago. She is the executive director of the American Lung Association in Arizona and enjoys hiking, yoga, and traveling in her free time.

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