American Lung Association Launches AFSI Champion Awards

(July 28, 2010)

Asthma is a leading cause of absenteeism in schools across the country.  As a part of the American Lung Association's Asthma-Friendly Schools Initiative (AFSI), we are honoring those who support and implement asthma programs to help keep children with asthma healthy, in school and ready to learn.  

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Rush-Henrietta School District (NY) Excellence and Champion Award Winners
The AFSI Champion Award honors individual volunteers and school staff who have helped to develop and support comprehensive asthma management strategies, and the AFSI Excellence Award is given in recognition of schools and school districts that have shown a commitment to creating an asthma-friendly school environment

The Asthma-Friendly Schools Initiative (AFSI) was created through a cooperative agreement with the American Lung Association and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Division of Adolescent and School Health.  AFSI consists of a wide-ranging set of strategies for creating an asthma-friendly school, including the Asthma-Friendly Schools Toolkit.  A planning tool based on real-life activities used in schools throughout the U. S. is also a part of the initiative, helping to further promote comprehensive asthma management systems.

The AFSI Toolkit offers a comprehensive approach to asthma management in schools, providing the framework and tools needed to help school districts, school staff, community partners and parents create an asthma-friendly school environment.  School districts and individuals from all across the country have already won awards this year for their dedication to this initiative and include:

AFSI Excellence Award Winners:

  • Rush Henrietta Central School District (New York)
  • West Sonoma County Union High School District (California)
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Raymond Kohl (l) from the Los Angeles Unified School District, receives his AFSI Champion Award from Katie VanCleave of the American Lung Association in California.

AFSI Asthma Champion Award Winners:

  • Robert Cincotta, Director of Athletics & Physical Education (Long Island, NY)
  • Ellette Hirschorn, Director of Clinical Services and Programs (Hudson Valley, NY)
  • Raymond Kohl, Teacher Advisor (Los Angeles, California)
  • Rogene McPherson, Director of Special Services (Kansas City, KS)
  • Rita Molloy, School Nurse (Long Island, NY)
  • Jeanne Schwasman, School Nurse Teacher (Rochester, NY)
  • Lea Theuer, School Nurse Teacher (Rochester, NY)

With these awards the American Lung Association is looking to better highlight the struggles that students with asthma face everyday when it comes to their respiratory health. 

"It has created ripple effects throughout the district," said Lea Theuer, a school nurse teacher at Rush-Henrietta Senior High School (N.Y.) and a recent recipient of the AFSI Champion Award. "Whether you are talking to the science teachers about air quality in the buildings or empowering a student to have better asthma control, AFSI has really made a positive impact on the community," she continued. 

The Lung Association has been leading the fight against asthma for many years, through research, education and advocacy.  Addressing the needs of students with asthma is an important step in helping the nearly seven million children in America who miss over 13 million days of school a year dealing with this respiratory disease.

The American Lung Association is dedicated to supporting asthma-friendly school environments.  Along with more information about the Asthma-Friendly Schools Initiative, the AFSI Toolkit is available for free online on our website –  You can also get one-on-one help by calling our Lung HelpLine at 1-800-LUNGUSA.