From Our Chief Medical Officer

Decades of medical technology have not yet cured the everyday reality for tens of millions of Americans—that lung disease discriminates. Through the work of many researchers and clinicians, we have come to understand how much more we need to learn about how various genetic and socioeconomic factors may interplay, leaving racial and ethnic communities particularly vulnerable to a range of lung diseases---asthma, lung cancer, sarcoidosis and others. The data can be overwhelming, yet our recently released State of Lung Disease in Diverse Communities 2010 details the challenges the medical community and policy-makers must address—and that the American Lung Association continues to tackle through research, education and advocacy.

Hand in hand with research efforts focused on lung disease among Hispanics, African Americans and other minorities, is the work of an army of individuals committed to change how this story moves forward. In this issue of Promise Of Research, we introduce you to two physicians with diverse backgrounds but a common passion—to improve individual lives of minorities with asthma. Marina Reznik, M.D., an immigrant from the Ukraine, became a pulmonologist and eventually began working as a clinician and researcher in the Bronx—the “epicenter of asthma,” as she describes her community. Her American Lung Association-funded study is focused on a culturally-sensitive approach to improving children’s adherence to asthma medications. LeRoy Graham, M.D., a longtime American Lung Association volunteer and prominent pediatric pulmonologist, has become a tireless advocate for the African-American community in Atlanta through the Not One More Life volunteer organization he founded nearly 10 years ago. Their stories extend the promise that research offers, to change the course of lung disease and improve individual lives. Finally, we present a broad brush stroke of the research status of disease areas most affecting our country’s largest minority populations—African Americans and Hispanics. Their collective lung disease profile sets a course for the American Lung Association’s work in so many areas—asthma, environmental health, lung cancer.

Together, our clinical and basic researchers, epidemiologists and other public health experts work with a common purpose so that their investigations one day may yield the results that will change the path of lung disease among our diverse American communities.

Norman H. Edelman, MD
Chief Medical Officer