The American Lung Association Celebrates Women’s History Month

Please join us in celebrating the contributions of women across the United States during Women’s History Month (March 1 – March 31). Women’s History Month began in 1981 as an annual week of recognition before the National Women’s History Project successfully campaigned for March to be designated as National Women’s History Month.1 During the month of celebration, International Women’s Day is also recognized on March 8, bringing awareness to the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women around the globe. This day also marks a call to action for women’s equality.2

This year in recognition of Women’s History Month, the American Lung Association is highlighting staff and volunteers from the American Lung Association who have contributed to the effort to eliminate lung disease, as well as lung health statistics and resources available focused on the lung health of women.

Get Social & Celebrate Women’s History Month With Us

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Virtual Better Breathers Network

dr meilan han

Women’s Respiratory Health
Date: Wednesday, March 9, 2022 | 2:00 – 3:00 pm CST

If you, or someone you know, is living with a chronic lung disease such as COPD, asthma, pulmonary fibrosis or lung cancer, consider joining us at this welcoming virtual support group. Topics include, but are not limited to:

  • How lung disease affects the respiratory system
  • Breathing techniques
  • Medical tests and procedures
  • Navigating the healthcare system

Featured Presenter: MeiLan Han, M.D., MS, American Lung Association National Spokesperson

Dr. MeiLan Han is professor and Chief of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at the University of Michigan and director of the Michigan Airways Program. Recently Dr. Han authored her book, “Breathing Lessons: A Doctor’s Guide to Lung Health” offering an authoritative, accessible guide on how our lungs work and how to protect them.


EACH Breath Blogs

Women in lung cancer research

Celebrating Women’s History Month

This month our Each Breath blog will feature a few articles highlighting the specific achievements of women in research and the amazing work they are doing to support lung research across the country. Read more here.

Women Championing Women

Our March 2021 blog highlights how a Lung Association researcher lifts up fellow female academics through an innovative pilot program. Read more here.

American Lung Association Women in History

Check out our blog post shared during Women’s History Month in 2017 featuring many of the trailblazing women championing lung health through the decades. Read more here.

Spotlight Series:

Women Continuing to Make Lung Health History

We are proud to present a spotlight series featuring staff from the American Lung Association. In addition to their daily efforts to eliminate lung disease, these women are achieving firsts in their family. Join us in celebrating these staff members who demonstrate that women's history is happening now! Continue to join us in celebration all month long through our social media highlights of remarkable women in lung health history.

mimi guiracocha Mimi Guiracocha, DNP, RN Manager - Health Promotions Illinois

Mimi Guiracocha, a first-generation college graduate, just became the first in her Ecuadorian-American immigrant family to receive a doctorate degree. Dr. Guiracocha earned her Doctorate in Nurse Practice (DNP) in Advanced Public Health Nursing from Rush University, and has recently joined the Lung Association as the Manager for Health Promotions for the Upper Midwest.

Darlene Hamilton Darlene Hamilton, National Manager - Donor Development

Darlene is a first-generation college graduate. Her parents were teenagers when she was born and as a result, her mother never graduated from High School, although her father did, it was never his intention to attend college. As Darlene’s single mother raised her and her sisters, college was never the end goal for any of their futures. As a teen mother of three, Darlene decided to enroll in college at the age of 18. Despite a few setbacks, and 10 years of attending school and taking breaks, she had the honor of having her children in the stand cheering her on as she walked across the stage last year as a first-generation graduate.

Janelle Hom Janelle Hom, Executive Director - Central Florida

Janelle had a lot of firsts in her family…the first person to graduate from college, the first to earn a master’s degree, the first to own a home. Says Janelle, “I remember distinctly leaving the closing on my home, making it to my car, and crying uncontrollably. Coming from a situation of little means and working so hard for everything I had, it was a life goal to own my own home (something my parents have never been able to do).  From working with my mother as a child cleaning houses to where I am today, I’m proud of how far I have come personally. I know that hard work, grit, perseverance, and never accepting society’s limitations on what a woman “can” or “should” do are examples that the next generation of women need to continue to break glass ceilings and achieve equality to our male counterparts.”

Brittany Sinzinger Brittany Sinzinger, Senior Development Manager - Ohio

Brittany was the first woman (and person actually), on both sides of her family, going back for as long as she can track, to go to college and earn a degree—and she did it while pregnant with two of her children! Truly a family trailblazer, since that time, Brittany’s younger sister has also earned a degree and her brother is currently in college.

Women’s Lung Health

Lung Cancer 

  • Lung Cancer’s Impact on Black Men and Women
  • The rate of new lung cancer cases (incidence) over the past 44 years has dropped 43% for men while it has risen 79% for women.3
  • The rate of new lung cancer diagnosis in women is 4 per 100,000 people and the death rate is 29 per 100,000 people.4

Learn more about lung cancer in women in our annual State of Lung Cancer report.

female doctor with female patient

Lung Disease

  • Asthma is more prevalent among women than men. While the specific percentages vary, this is true for white, Black and Latino populations.5
  • A gender disparity is well-established in asthma and changes throughout life.6
  • As children, boys have an increased prevalence of asthma compared to girls (11.9% vs. 7.5%, respectively), and boys are also twice as likely as girls to be hospitalized for an asthma exacerbation. However, during adolescence there is a decline in asthma prevalence and morbidity in males concurrent with an increase in females.7
  • More women than men have COPD. Women also develop COPD at a younger age (often between 45 and 64). Men are more likely to die from COPD than women, although more women die from the disease than men due to the female population being larger.8
  • In one study, women with COPD had higher levels of anxiety and depression compared with both men with COPD and women who did not have COPD.9
  1. Our History - National Women's History Alliance

  2. IWD: About International Women's Day

  3. Data and Statistics - Lung Cancer Statistics Style Guide



  6. Fuseini H, Newcomb DC. Mechanisms Driving Gender Differences in Asthma. Curr Allergy Asthma Rep. 2017 Mar;17(3):19. doi: 1007/s11882-017-0686-1. PMID: 28332107; PMCID: PMC5629917.

  7. Fuseini H, Newcomb DC. Mechanisms Driving Gender Differences in Asthma. Curr Allergy Asthma Rep. 2017 Mar;17(3):19. doi: 10.1007/s11882-017-0686-1. PMID: 28332107; PMCID: PMC5629917.

  8. American Lung Association. (2013). Taking her breath away: The rise of COPD in women .

  9. Anxiety and depression in COPD patients: The roles of gender and disease severity. Respiratory Medicine (2006) 100, pages 1767–1774

Page last updated: March 7, 2022

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