Evelyn Montalvo, M.D.

American Lung Association® Council delegate-at-large, American Lung Association® of New Jersey 

 My involvement with the American Lung Association® started in 1996 as a volunteer. After finishing my Pediatric Pulmonology fellowship and entering practice, I realized the need for asthma education in the community more so in the Latino community. The American Lung Association® would sponsor asthma education programs in the community where I was invited as a guest speaker. This gave me the opportunity to really make a difference in having families understand their child's disease and why we used certain medications to control and treat their asthma.

The American Lung Association® had scheduled several programs in the inner city. However, I was not satisfied with the attendance in the Latino community. The northern region - American Lung Association® of New Jersey and myself then devised a Spanish asthma education program whereby the parents would learn about asthma conducted in Spanish and the children would also participate by having the American Lung Association®-puppeteers teach them about asthma in English. It was a family day event, full of fun and yet achieved the goals of learning about asthma. We also had a small luncheon with Spanish food (provided by a pharmaceutical company), which gave the families a time to share their experience and develop a support system. The program has been successful with an excellent attendance rate and interest. It allowed me to provide up-to-date information about asthma in Spanish and heighten awareness in the Latino community. It made them realize that their children could lead a healthy and productive life if they have control of their child's asthma.

There is still yet a great deal of work to be done and I am hoping that together with the American Lung Association®, we can achieve these goals.