Volunteer and Staff Awards | American Lung Association

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Volunteer and Staff Awards

The lifesaving work of the American Lung Association is driven by an exceptional team of volunteers and staff across the country. Each year, we recognize their excellence with our annual Volunteer and Staff Awards.


Chairman's Award - Robert A. Wise, MD

In 1999, the Lung Association began funding the Airways Clinical Research Centers (ACRC) Network, the largest not-for-profit clinical network in the United States, devoted to asthma and COPD Research. Dr. Wise was selected to lead the Data Coordinating Center for the Network, and to lead the Lung Association's clinical investigation in asthma, and recently enhanced to include asthma and COPD. Dr. Wise has been integral to the ACRC success—designing and completing 11 studies with over 6,000 participants. These studies have been focused on addressing questions that are directly relevant to patients, their families and healthcare providers. He has worked with clinical site investigators to identify pressing clinical questions, design studies that provide rigorous, unbiased medical evidence and compete successfully for funding from government and private funding sources. Dr. Wise is incredibly quiet and unassuming, and truly a positive representative of the best of pulmonary medicine. His dedication to research and his patients is without equal.

Volunteer Excellence Award - Amy Chuang, MD, Midland States

Dr. Chuang has a special interest in asthma and, especially, how the American Lung Association positions itself to work through cultural understanding, language and literacy barriers in order to serve all communities to address lung health issues. Although she carried a heavy professional work schedule as an allergist at the Cleveland Clinic, she was, and continues to be very active on the Midland States Board, committees and special events. Dr. Chuang has also been actively involved in education and advocacy issues relating to asthma, lung cancer and the environment, as well as in many special events activities in Northeast Ohio, including support of her husband in the Fight For Air Climb and golf tournament, and her own participation in the LUNG FORCE walks. Her passion and commitment to accomplish her goals in cultural diversity and her commitment to our mission is very strong. Dr. Chuang is very motivated and passionate about her work. She is industrious, personable and uses all of her potential to support our work.

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Volunteer Excellence Award - Adam Scott Goldberg, Southeast

As a young lawyer at a small firm, Adam Goldberg volunteered to do some legal work for the local Lung Association. He eventually joined the local board and has been continuously involved with the American Lung Association for more than two decades with service on local, regional and national boards. Over the years, Adam utilized his expertise and strong organizational skills to work on several mergers for the Lung Association including Southeast, Northeast and Mt. Pacific. While serving on the national Board of Directors for six years, he served as Chair of the Field Operations Committee and developed a chart to benchmark performance indicators. Adam practices what he preaches. In addition to his dedicated work volunteering and fundraising for the Lung Association, he has included the American Lung Association in his estate plan and promotes planned giving at every board meeting. We are grateful to visionaries like Adam who are insuring that the important work of the Lung Association will continue for future generations.

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Volunteer Excellence Award - Aaron Lipski, Upper Midwest

Aaron Lipski's involvement with the Lung Association began with the 2009 Milwaukee Climb, when he was one of the original firefighter participants. Since that time, he has been co-chair of the Fight For Air Climb, joined the Local Leadership Board in 2015, and has recently taken on the role of Secretary. Aaron's involvement in the Climb has helped it become the number one climb in the nation and he has quadrupled the number of firefighters participating. He has also recruited Climb sponsors and raised revenues for the Climb. He is a strong supporter of a Smokefree Multi-Unit Housing Program and was responsible for recruiting other Fire Departments to support the program. He was also selected to participate at a White House meeting on the proposed US Department of Housing and Urban Development smokefree rule. Aaron exemplifies the true meaning of a volunteer. He delivers the American Lung Association's message wherever he goes and is always willing to open a door.

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Volunteer Excellence Award - Rick Trivisonno, Midland States

Rick Trivisonno, of Lincoln Electric, began his work with the Lung Association serving on the Midland States Celebrity Golf Tournament Committee in 1992. Today, Rick chairs the committee, recruiting committee members and celebrities; soliciting sponsorships and other participants and works with staff on program, set up and organization of the event. Including the upcoming tournament on June 5, it is estimated that the Celebrity Golf Tournament will have brought in close to $5 million over the 25 years since its debut. As if that wasn't enough of a commitment from Rick, he is a CPA and has provided his expertise as a member of the Midland States Finance Committee. Rick's commitment to the Celebrity Golf Tournament over 25 years is remarkable. The fact that he is willing to commit additional time and talent to provide financial expertise places him high on the list of those who deserve to be recognized as an outstanding volunteer.

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Staff Excellence Award - Janelle Hom, Area Director, Southeast

Janelle Hom first joined the American Lung Association in 2008 as an intern. Upon graduation, she was hired full time as a Development Coordinator and due to her rapid success, was quickly promoted to Development Manager. In 2010 she was once again promoted to Area Director supervising the Central Florida office, where she is responsible for development, health promotion/program and advocacy work. In addition, Janelle serves as the Southeast Climb lead, which could be a full-time job in itself. Through the help of Janelle's exceptional leadership, the Southeast Climbs achieved an increase in revenue from FY15 to FY16 of over $500,000! As if these responsibilities weren't enough, Janelle is the Southeast LUNG FORCE Expo Co-Lead. She enthusiastically serves as a resource to her peers and routinely develops new tools to improve outcomes for the Expos. Janelle designed the Southeast Expo dashboard for Expos which was implemented for all Expos in FY16. Janelle is viewed as a leader in the development and program teams. She positively impacts every aspect of our organization through mission and revenue. Janelle willingly takes on additional responsibilities asked of her and always continues to achieve.

Staff Excellence Award - Stacey Mortenson, Program Director Arizona, Southwest

Stacey started with the Lung Association in Arizona as a Development and Communications Director in 2004. Today she is Program Director, managing all COPD and Asthma programs. Among other things, she oversees a state grant on Chronic Lower Respiratory Disease, advancing new community partnerships while maintaining the engagement of existing strategic, community partners. Stacey also oversees the operation of Camp Not-A-Wheeze and has managed to enhance the excitement around the Camp during its 29th, 30th and upcoming 31st year. Stacey has been influential in promoting and maintaining an excellent relationship with local colleges, managing eight interns from Midwestern University's College of Pharmacy. Charged with increasing the awareness and education in rural and Spanish-speaking populations, the interns conducted focus group interviews on best practices for developing educational presentation toolkits that were distributed to 85 community health workers throughout central and southern Arizona. Stacey always approaches her work with a positive attitude. Her management style conveys transparency, creativity, and confidence. She always encourages her team to collaborate with other individuals and teams in the office, not just helping them do what they already have planned, but to use innovation to elevate their work.

Staff Excellence Award - Carly Ornstein, MPH, CHES, National Director, Lung Cancer Education

Carly Ornstein joined the Lung Association in July 2012 with a charge to develop content for the "Facing Lung Cancer" project. Today, her primary job responsibilities include serving as the lung cancer patient experience expert and informing our LUNG FORCE messages and initiatives. Since joining the Lung Association, Carly has enhanced the quality, quantity and diversity of our lung cancer educational content so that patients and caregivers have valuable resources to help them along their lung cancer journey. Specific additions to our lung cancer education, led by Carly include: Conceiving of and launching the Tell a Friend about Tumor Testing Campaign to raise awareness about the importance of comprehensive lung cancer tumor testing. Additionally Carly developed and executed the Lung Cancer Immunotherapy Project. The main objective of this project was to develop a suite of educational materials designed to demystify lung cancer immunotherapy and provide patients and caregivers information they need to understand this type of treatment. Carly touches and/or leads every significant effort to inform patients and caregivers about causes, treatments and support for lung cancer. Her role is critical, especially given our strategic imperative to "Defeat Lung Cancer" and our nationwide priority, LUNG FORCE. Carly's energy and commitment have made her an invaluable asset to the Lung Association.

Staff Excellence Award - Marianne Zacharia, MS, CHES, Sr. Director, Health Education, Northeast

Marianne Zacharia has been with the Lung Association for over 30 years, starting as a college intern. During her tenure, she served in every facet of the Lung Association mission; primarily in health education. She has also contributed tremendously to our advocacy efforts, as well as fundraising. Marianne has directed local tobacco and asthma coalitions, directed the New York COPD coalition and has served as a "Freedom From Smoking" and "NOT" master trainer. Marianne has made her mark on the entire American Lung Association organization at every level, through every educational program, policy initiative and fundraising effort we have had for the last three decades. She has earned the respect of her Lung Association colleagues, community partners and the constituents that we served through her caring, attention to quality and vast knowledge and experience. This kind of dedication and commitment is rare and highly deserving of a Staff Excellence award.

C. Everett Koop Unsung Hero Award - Bruce A. Christiansen, Ph.D.

Dr. Christensen was chosen for this honor because of his tireless work to serve the most vulnerable individuals, including those who are homeless, prisoners, struggle with addiction or mental-health issues or live in an inner-city environment. 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. 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 smokefree following their release from prison. Dr. Christiansen has not only helped those with the fewest advantages to recover from their addiction to smoking, but also has empowered others who want to help them succeed.

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Hoyt E. Dearholt Distinguished Professional Service Award - Patrice McKone, Senior Regional Director, Tobacco Control and Policy, Upper Midwest

Pat McKone has been with the American Lung Association in Minnesota for 40 years. She has played a critical role in many of Minnesota's first smokefree policies including worksites, housing and foster care. In January of 2016, she was one of a small group of advocates to attend the White House Summit on HUD's proposed smokefree public housing rule. Pat has been dedicated to the mission of the American Lung Association and its tobacco control initiatives throughout her time with the organization. On a regular basis, she goes above and beyond to provide resources or expertise to individuals or a community in order to ensure successful passage of comprehensive smokefree laws. Pat is known and viewed as a leader by her colleagues in this field throughout the Upper Midwest and nationally. While she works closely with individual communities throughout the Midwest, she continues to work on statewide legislation in Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, North and South Dakota, and in the trenches both in Duluth and across the Arrowhead Region of Northeast Minnesota. Her passion for social justice has been a driving force in much of her work, including advocacy for smokefree housing and smoking cessation for those with mental health and substance use disorders. She works tirelessly with little or no recognition but with the improved health of the public as her reward.

Will Ross Medal - William L. Kempiners, Upper Midwest

Harry Truman said, "It is amazing what you can accomplish, if you do not care who gets the credit." Bill Kempiners heeded these words for more than 37 years volunteering for the American Lung Association. As a four-term Illinois state legislator, the Director of Public Health for state of Illinois, and the Executive Director of the Illinois Health Care Association, he brought tremendous experience to the Association. Under Bill's chairmanship of the Advocacy Committee, Advocacy Day greatly expanded nearly doubling to 64 participants in Bill's first year. Ultimately, it grew to over 100 participants from 42 states in 2013. Bill's vision laid the groundwork for the successful 50 state, 125 participant LUNG FORCE Advocacy Day in 2016. During his tenure as Advocacy Committee Chair, the Lung Association achieved several very significant victories that will improve lung health and help prevent lung disease. The committee reviewed and revised all of our public policy positions. He led a process of engaging outside experts from state government, environmental organizations, academia and charter staff in a series of workshops to undertake a comprehensive review of energy topics related to electricity, transportation and heating that resulted in the American Lung Association's first comprehensive Public Policy Position on Energy. From volunteer engagement to taking on big issues and winning, Bill Kempiners is a true volunteer leader.

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