Unsung Heroes' Award | American Lung Association

Unsung Heroes' Award

Call for Nominations

In the war against Big Tobacco, there are many people who fight daily to prevent kids from smoking and help smokers quit. A victory occurs every time a smoker quits and every time a kid chooses not to pick up a cigarette. These victories are so important, and they save lives. However, they often go uncelebrated – as do the people who helped make them happen.

That is why the American Lung Association and The C. Everett Koop Institute at Dartmouth present our annual Unsung Heroes’ Award to celebrate the heroes that make a tobacco-free future possible. The next award recipient will be announced on Friday, June 22, 2018 at an Awards Dinner in Chicago, IL.

Please recognize your colleagues, friends and heroes by nominating them for the Unsung Heroes’ Award. Anyone can submit a nomination. Anyone working to end the tobacco epidemic in the United States is eligible and all qualified candidates will be considered for the award, including staff and volunteers of the American Lung Association and other organizations working on tobacco control and prevention.

To nominate a candidate, please submit the following:

  1. A letter from the nominator, not to exceed two pages, outlining the reasons for the nomination.
  2. A seconding letter, not to exceed one page.
  3. A curriculum vitae or summary of the candidate’s activities in tobacco control.

All materials must be submitted no later than Friday, March 16, 2018. Nomination materials must be grouped together, and emailed to Annie Yu at Annie.Yu@Lung.org or mailed to American Lung Association, c/o Annie Yu; 1331 Pennsylvania Ave. Suite1425 North, Washington, DC 20004.

A jury, the names of which will not be announced, will review the proposals. Each year's recipient will join the jury as a one-time consultant in the year following his or her award.

2017 C. Everett Koop Unsung Heroes Award

Bruce Christiansen, PhD


Bruce Christiansen, PhD has worked tirelessly to serve the most vulnerable of smokers, including those who are homeless, struggle with addiction or mental-health issues, live in an inner-city environment, or are prisoners waiting to be released. Studies show these disparity groups smoke at much higher rates than the overall population. Dr. Christiansen has written grants, conducted research, and developed innovative outreach programs. Part of that innovation has been to move beyond just healthcare, including outreach efforts directly to smokers, and to the community workers and corrections professionals who often serve them. Most of all, Dr. Christiansen combines his research, outreach, and psychiatric expertise with a heart of gold to make these efforts his passion.

Dr. Christiansen has spent his career working with the underserved populations. For example, he founded the ZIP Code Project, a community-based research program designed to increase the use of evidenced-based quit-tobacco treatments among individuals living in the two most impoverished Milwaukee inner-city ZIP code areas. He collaborated with the local Salvation Army and Vincent Family Resource Center to hire surveyors from the community to go door to door, gather residents' ideas about smoking, educate them about smoking and quitting, and offer resources to help them and their loved ones to quit. Dr. Christiansen and others held community events with raffles and partnered on health events.

Dr. Christiansen has also done extensive work with behavioral health patients by managing the Wisconsin Nicotine Treatment and Integration Program. This program works to integrate tobacco cessation treatment into the standard services of healthcare providers and residential programs in Wisconsin. In addition to this work, Dr. Christiansen has worked with the Wisconsin Department of Corrections to help inmates stay smoke-free following their release from prison.

Dr. Christiansen has not only helped those with the least advantages to recover from their addiction to smoking, but also has empowered those who want to help them succeed.

View more American Lung Association awards.

    Ask An Expert

    Questions about your lung health? Need help finding healthcare? Call 1-800-LUNGUSA.

    Get help
    We need your generous support

    Make a difference by delivering research, education and advocacy to those impacted by lung disease.

    What is LUNG FORCE?

    LUNG FORCE unites women and their loved ones across the country to stand together in the fight against lung cancer.

    Get involved
    Join the fight for healthy lungs and healthy air.
    Donate Now.