Laird Harris

Laird Harris all but changed the way we talk about asthma at the American Lung Association of Washington. He helped craft our organization's asthma messaging, which is tied to our advocacy, communications, events, fundraising and program work. Laird is always ready to give advice and readily offers his public affairs skills.

Laird helped coordinate and present our first volunteer Media & Advocacy training this January, as we look to have more volunteers involved in providing key messages around our lung health work. This training is intended to integrate volunteers into our advocacy work and to bring more awareness to the issues that impact lung health. Initially, the Media & Advocacy training has opened up the opportunity for more of our volunteers to become involved in the important work of telling our story to their local legislators and the media. Having more stories told and shared with the public will bring more understanding and awareness of our work in the area of lung health. We anticipate the training eventually will expand our network of spokespeople in various fields of expertise in lung health and location around the state. We plan to multiply these trainings, so more volunteers can become active advocates in their communities on our behalf.

Besides being a leader in media and advocacy for our organization, Laird has been a strong leader in our development of a comprehensive Washington State Asthma Plan. Laird's involvement has enabled the American Lung Association of Washington to focus on asthma and bring the "Attack on Asthma" bill before the legislature. This historic bill, which was passed by the legislature and is awaiting signature by the governor, will require a uniform asthma policy for school districts regarding the training and education of school staff and will authorize students to self-carry and self-administer their asthma medication.

Laird literally walks the talk. He walks to Board of Directors meetings from his office in downtown Seattle. He also walks from home to his downtown office. He has also walked in our Asthma Walk. Additionally, Laird has introduced friends and business colleagues to the American Lung Association of Washington through some of our fundraising events. He collected signatures for initiative 890, which called for the ban of smoking in bars, restaurants and bowling alleys. He helped organize a gubernatorial debate on public health issues. Laird has close, personal ties to American Lung Association of Washington work and issues. He has a son with asthma and his mother died of emphysema.