Anthony J. DeLucia, PhD

As a native of Riverside, California, I became involved in the automobile air pollution issue in my college years. As a college track and cross-country athlete in that city, my interest burgeoned in the effects of breathing air pollution during exercise on athletic performance, including my own, and on human health.

I began my research on air pollution as an undergraduate biology major at the University of California, Riverside in 1967 where I conducted greenhouse studies of the effects of two of the common air pollutants in Los Angeles type smog (ozone and peroxyacetyl nitrate) on plants.

I moved to Davis, California, in 1970 to begin work in the Masters of Zoology program at the University of California. Over the next six years, I switched my graduate program from Zoology to Comparative Pathology, maintaining an interest in air pollution as I completed my doctoral work in 1974. My Dissertation, entitled "The Effects of Ozone on Thiol Compounds and Related Metabolism in the Lung", was the focal point of efforts to understand the mechanisms of ozone mediated lung injury at the biochemical level.

My interdisciplinary training at the University of California and exercise background also challenged my thinking on related aspects of the toxicity of that gas and broadened my interest in the emerging fields of lung toxicology, environmental physiology, and free radical biology. For my postgraduate work, I switched the focus of my research to physiological and blood biochemical studies of the interplay between exercise stress and short-term ozone inhalation in humans.

After leaving California to assume full-time duties in academic medicine, first at the Louisiana State University Medical School, and in subsequent work at the Quillen College of Medicine, East Tennessee State University, I have worked steadily to promote lung health in the face of challenges, including those of a local nature, such as high exposure levels involving tobacco smoke, ozone, and other highly toxic air pollutants.

Throughout my professional career in biomedical research, medical education, and lung health advocacy, I have called upon this focus on environmental health to guide my efforts at all levels, from local to international. It is largely through my efforts with the American Thoracic Society and the American Lung Association® that I have gained an appreciable working knowledge of the problem our planet faces due to air pollution and the collective means within humanity's grasp to deal effectively with that and related environmental issues.

After receiving a research grant award from the American Lung Association® in 1980 to fund my work on the combined effects of ozone and carbon monoxide on exercising humans, I felt obligated to assist the Association in its important work to fight lung disease and promote lung health.

In 1988 I began my tenure as an American Lung Association® volunteer, first serving on the national level as the Tennessee representative to the Chapter of Council Representatives of the American Thoracic Society. During that three-year term I also began to serve as an officer of the local and state boards of the American Lung Association® and became engaged in a variety of programmatic and fund raising issues. I still serve the American Lung Association® of Tennessee as its Representative Delegate to the American Lung Association® Council, with the responsibility and enjoyment of bringing local issues and perspectives for discussion at the national or international level and vice versa.

In 1998 I was elected to the first of two terms on the American Lung Association® Board. At the May 2002 annual meeting in Atlanta, I will officially become the American Lung Association's® leading volunteer officer. During my presidency I plan to continue to fulfill my university and community duties in striving towards improved health and have committed to focus on broader partnership efforts of the American Lung Association®. In addition, I plan to stress best practices in reaching the organization's strategic goals, technological and non-technological enhancements of internal and external communication, and cooperation of all components of American Lung Association® in the effort to reduce the toll of lung disease in afflicted individuals and populations.

With such lofty ideals as a "world free of lung disease" in mind, I hope to help further secure the already proud legacy of one of the nation's premier health organizations.