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.
2021 and 2022 Recipients of the American Lung Association Annual Volunteer and Staff Awards
Project BREATHE (2021)
Claudia Guglielmo, MPA, AE-C
Division Director, Health Promotions, New York
Claudia started her career with the American Lung Association in October 2000. She is a certified asthma educator (AE-C) and continually works to strengthen her knowledge. She currently oversees our Asthma Control of New York City, Hudson Valley Asthma Coalition and New York State Energy and Research Development Authority Pilot grants.
Project BREATHE was developed by Claudia and Anne Little, a Lung Association staff person who has since retired, in partnership with the New York State Department of Health Asthma Control Program. The program integrates evidence-based asthma care coordinated across settings to improve quality of life and health outcomes for children with asthma and their families.
Project BREATHE provides a framework for hospital in-patient, emergency department and primary care settings to adopt best practice strategies. It also provides tools for providers and patients, driving quality improvement, building clinical-community linkages and addressing health equity. Project BREATHE advances New York’s healthcare reform strategy by supporting the goals of value-based purchasing, healthy homes and patient-centered medical homes.
Project BREATHE was initially piloted across seven hospitals in New York City and Long Island beginning in 2012. Since then, the project has expanded into a statewide initiative. Project BREATHE has been recognized, published and discussed at the American Academy of Asthma Allergy and Pediatrics Annual Meeting, the CHEST Annual Meeting, the Pediatric Academic Society, the World Asthma Conference and the Afternoon of Innovation at the Northwell System. Additionally, the project was selected for presentation at the Children’s Hospital Association Conference in March 2020.
Claudia leads with the American Lung Association mission in the forefront, and we congratulate her on receiving the 2020 Innovation Award.
Champions Unite (2022)
Executive Director, Los Angeles
Rita M. Redaelli,
Executive Director, San Diego
When the San Diego and Los Angeles LUNG FORCE Galas were cancelled due to the COVID shut down, the staff got together and thought of a creative idea: produce a Major League Baseball (MLB) off-the-field talent show.
Led by Rita Redaelli and Frances Mojica, they recruited the three Southern California MLB teams, the Angels, Dodgers and Padres. Each team had three current or former players demonstrate their best off- the-field talents on a livestream talent show. Viewers could place a vote by making a $10 donation to their favorite team or player. At the end of the broadcast, the player with the most votes won!
This was a total team effort and was the first time, in the PacWest, that two markets (Los Angeles and San Diego) worked together to create a new event and co-manage its success. The national Marketing and Communications team created the marketing materials and managed the national awareness of the event.
The event was a huge success, raising $372,610 in net revenue, vastly exceeding the $211,100 goal.
The event is continuing into its second year in 2022. Congratulations to Frances and Rita for a job well done!
Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Council (2022)
Kristina A. Hamilton, MPH
Director, Advocacy Illinois & Iowa
To fully embrace diversity within the American Lung Association and the communities we serve, in August 2020, Board Chair Steve O’Kane and National President and CEO Harold Wimmer announced the formation of the Lung Association’s first-ever Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Council.
Led by Kristina Hamilton, the DEI Council is comprised of staff from all departments, levels and regions of the organization, each of whom hold full-time positions in addition to producing this incredibly important work on behalf of the Lung Association.
DEI Council: Candace Alexander, MEd, CHES, Daniel J. Bowler, Erica Costa, MPPA, Felicia Fuller, Dr.PH, Kristina Hamilton, MPH (Chair), Pedro Haro, MPH, Ranjana Kodwani, MPH, James A. Martinez, Nicole Reyes, Maureen Rovas, MBA, CNP and Maxine Tatlonghari.
Their leadership and hard work have impacted our mission, development and marketing efforts in many positive ways. Promoting Diversity, Equity and Inclusion elevates the quality of everything we do to serve our mission. Additionally, it helps with our staff and volunteer recruitment and retention and makes the American Lung Association an employer of choice.
Some of the many things they have accomplished include: adding Juneteenth to the paid holiday schedule; acknowledging several observances internally, and externally on our social media platforms and website; hosting three national webinars focused on lung health disparities in historically underrepresented communities and transgender cultural awareness; and launching a DEI landing page on Lung.org that highlights Lung Association hosting resources addressing health disparities among Black, Latino, Asian American, Pacific Islander, Native Hawaiian, LGBTQ+ and Indigenous communities.
The DEI Council has been a strong first step in addressing the organization’s goal to better understand, reflect and communicate with the communities we serve. This has long been an objective of the Lung Association and the staff who make up the council have taken this directive to heart. The Council have been the leaders we have needed and have led some difficult conversations on staff calls, with courage and grace. Not only can the work they are leading be replicated in and permeate all aspects of our organization, it must, in order for us to stay relevant.
We congratulate the DEI Council and encourage them to keep up the good work.
Hoyt E. Dearholt Distinguished Professional Service Award
Susan J. Rappaport, MPH
National Vice President, Research & Scientific Affairs (2021)
Susan started her career with the American Lung Association in 1982. An unsung hero for the American Lung Association, Susan and her many accomplishments have been long been underappreciated. Her subtle servant leadership has redirected much deserved recognition onto her colleagues and the volunteers with whom she works.
The public along with the Board of Directors and volunteers love lung health research. Research provides hope to millions of people suffering from lung disease and for millions more wanting to stay healthy. Susan,
In partnership with the Scientific Advisory Committee has created an efficient and effective research program that has impact far beyond just the dollar amount invested. Under Susan’s leadership, the volunteers have evolved the research program several times to maintain and improve its impact. The program has sharpened its focus, increased the size of grants and provided funds for innovative approaches such as the new policy research grant program.
Susan has been instrumental in the formation of numerous partnerships and strategic relationships, including Stand Up to Cancer, the National Institutes of Health’s National Cancer Institute and National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI). In 2019, the NHLBI awarded a $24.8 million grant to conduct the first federally-funded United States cohort study of millennials. The American Lung Association Lung Health Cohort will be the largest study ever funded for the Lung Association.
Susan is a known and respected expert in lung health among colleagues in professional societies, including ATS, CHEST and AAAAI. She has represented the American Lung Association at meetings with professional societies and collaborations including a multi-organization effort on national standards for asthma self-management education and CDC’s Advisory Council for the Elimination of Tuberculosis. Susan represents the Lung Association at myriad events and activities, including important scientific and government conferences and meetings.
The American Lung Association is grateful for Susan’s dedication and her career exemplifies distinguished service.
Joy Meyer, National Vice President, Health Promotions (2022)
Joy started her career with the American Lung Association in 2004. The 2018 merger to become one nationwide organization was a change for everyone and leading change is no small feat. Joy carefully merged teams from different states, experiences, and grant deliverables to expand the potential of the Health Promotion Division. Today there are many cross-collaborations, strategic grant proposals, and successful strategies implemented, gaps filled, and support provided due to the structure that Joy created for this team to make it better and stronger nationwide.
Joy led the team to broaden its viewpoint of Health Promotion delivery looking nationwide to reach more people in more communities. She moved the Lung Force Expo to a nationwide virtual event and selected an online platform to meet sponsorship obligations and developed a shared asset to increase revenue opportunities. In doing so, Joy continued to move key learning opportunities to the platform such as Asthma Educator Institute which went on to acquire its first national sponsorship, produce 8 live streaming events, serve 628 participants, and realize more than $93,000 in profit.
Joy has the unique ability to not only collaborate with her nationwide colleagues, but also help innovate and create resources for nationwide volunteers and staff. Joy has been integral in the development and expansion of the Day at the Capitol event in Pennsylvania, when hundreds of youth advocates go to the capitol to advocate for lung health priorities. She helped create the new Advocacy Basics training program in 2021 on Lung.Training and is always willing to help the Advocacy Team in its advocacy efforts. Joy is comfortable meeting with state Commissioners of Health, local, state and federal legislators and staff and is always pushing her team to coordinate with Advocacy staff to achieve our shared mission. Joy has been a vital partner on advocacy efforts to lessen the burden of asthma and to fight the tobacco epidemic.
Joy Meyer is an experienced public health professional with strong leadership and program development skills which she has applied voluntarily to her own community. Over the past 20 years, Joy has given time and expertise through community service as the Executive Board Chair for Lebanon Family Health Services. She also served on the Executive Leadership Board for Lebanon County Children. Joy is a proven dedicated leader within her own community of Lebanon County, Pennsylvania.
We congratulate Joy on receiving this prestigious award.
Will Ross Medal
Jane Z. Reardon, MSN, RN - Connecticut (2021)
Jane started volunteering for the American Lung Association in 1976 and has held numerous positions on various boards and committees, including the National Board of Directors from 2012 through 2018.
Jane has brought her professional excellence to the Lung Association in her volunteer leadership capacities. As a volunteer leader on ALA Boards of Directors in Connecticut, New England, Northeast and National, Jane’s collaborative and inclusive style has significantly contributed to the positive tone of these bodies.
As Chair of the New England Board early in its formation, Jane fostered a broader regional vision of what the Lung Association could accomplish in a larger, unified region and challenged other board members to do the same. Jane was a strong proponent of the New England and New York organizations joining forces because she could see that the two organizations would be stronger together than separate. Jane’s vision for combining resources went way beyond organizational structure – it was all about her strong belief in more effectively helping people with lung disease.
Jane also stands out as a volunteer recruiter. As a very active Connecticut Leadership Board member, Jane has personally recruited scores of volunteers over the years and continues to do so. In her everyday life she is constantly looking for connections and good volunteer talent that will benefit the Lung Association. Her success is again aided by her contagious love of the American Lung Association’s mission which she imparts on others so easily.
Her passion is definitely our gain and we have been the beneficiary of decades of outstanding service.
Audrene Lojovich - Wisconsin (2022)
Audrene Lojovich has been a committed volunteer leader of the American Lung Association for more than 30 years and her work has made a significant impact on the success of our organization.
From 2002 to 2013, Audrene served on the American Lung Association Nationwide Assembly and was the Speaker-Elect. She was a National Board member, served as Vice-Chair of the Field Operations Committee and was Chair of the Charter Revision Task Force to implement Operational Effectiveness Assessment. She also served on the Governance Committee, the Chairs Forum, Strategic Planning Committee and the Save Our Lungs Team.
Audrene has served the Lung Association at all levels and with every role she ensures our organization stays financially stable, operates effectively, and most importantly, strives to be good stewards of donor dollars.
During her now concluded career of 45 years with the same company, she held a plethora of professional roles that resulted in her being a seasoned businessperson across many disciplines including securities compliance and risk management, people management, business planning, user-systems testing and implementation, public speaking, training, and financial products and services.
Audrene is a key part of the American Lung Association’s history and in the proud Wisconsin tradition of Will Ross, she will continue to offer her talents of leadership, strategic thinking and innovation moving forward. One could not ask for a more loyal, dedicated volunteer.
Page last updated: February 10, 2023