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American Lung Association Honors Lung Health Champions with 2017 Annual Volunteer Awards

Please note local interest, and find more details about the awards and this year's winners.

(July 13, 2017) - CHICAGO

For more information please contact:

Allison MacMunn
[email protected]

At the heart of the American Lung Association is an outstanding team of volunteers from across the country, who drive its lifesaving mission. On June 23, the American Lung Association recognized the excellence of its volunteers at an annual ceremony in Chicago.

"More than 110 years ago, the American Lung Association was founded as the nation's first voluntary health organization. Today, dedicated volunteers are still at the core of our work towards a world free of lung disease, and drive our lifesaving mission forward," said American Lung Association National President and CEO Harold P. Wimmer. "In honoring these special volunteers, we pay tribute to all of our nationwide volunteers, past and present, who have made our important work possible."


  • Chairman's Award – Robert A. Wise, MD, Baltimore, Md.

The Chairman's Award is given when the National Board Chair wants to recognize an individual's service that has gone above and beyond the incredible work done every day by Lung Association volunteers and staff. When the American Lung Association's Airways Clinical Research Centers (ACRC) network was founded in 1999, Robert A. Wise, MD, was selected to lead the Lung Association's clinical investigation network in asthma, which now includes COPD, as well as the Data Coordinating Center of the network. Dr. Wise has been integral to the ACRC success—designing and completing 11 studies with over 6,000 participants. These studies have focused on addressing questions that are directly relevant to patients, their families and healthcare providers.

  • Volunteer Excellence Award – Amy Chuang, MD, Oberlin, Ohio

Amy Chuang, MD, has a special interest in asthma, especially how the Lung Association positions itself to work through cultural understanding, language and literacy barriers in order to serve all communities and address lung health issues. Despite her heavy work schedule as an allergist at the Cleveland Clinic, Dr. Chuang has been very active on the American Lung Association of the Midland States Board, committees and special events, such as Fight For Air Climbs, golf tournaments and LUNG FORCE Walks.

  • Volunteer Excellence Award – Adam Scott Goldberg, Weston, Fla.

As a young lawyer at a small firm, Adam Goldberg volunteered to conduct 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 the national Board of Directors, where he served as Chair of the Field Operations Committee.

  • Volunteer Excellence Award – Aaron Lipski, Milwaukee, Wis.

Aaron Lipski's involvement with the Lung Association began with the 2009 Milwaukee Fight For Air Climb as one of the original firefighter participants. Lipski's involvement has helped it become the leading Climb in the nation. He has quadrupled the number of firefighter participants, recruited Climb sponsors and raised revenues for the Climb. He has also joined the local Lung Association Leadership Board and serves as Secretary. He is a strong supporter of a Smokefree Multi-Unit Housing Program and recruited other fire departments to support the program. Lipski was also selected to participate at a White House meeting on the proposed U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development smokefree rule.

  • Volunteer Excellence Award – Rick Trivisonno, Cleveland, Ohio

Rick Trivisonno, began his work with the Lung Association in 1992, serving on the Midland States Celebrity Golf Tournament Committee. Today, Trivisonno 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. With Trivisonno's help, the Celebrity Golf Tournament will have raised nearly $5 million to support the Lung Association lifesaving mission over its 25-year history. Trivisonno, who is a CPA, has also provided his expertise as a member of the Midland States Finance Committee.

  • C. Everett Koop Unsung Heroes Award - Bruce A. Christiansen, Ph.D., Milwaukee, Wis.

The American Lung Association and the C. Everett Koop Foundation present the annual Unsung Heroes' Award to an advocate for tobacco control who has made significant, but frequently unrecognized contributions to reduce the burden of tobacco use. Dr. Christiansen was chosen for his tireless work to serve the most vulnerable individuals, including those who are homeless, serving prison sentences, struggling with addiction or mental health or living in an inner-city environment. Dr. Christiansen has not only helped those with the fewest advantages to recover from their addiction to smoking, but has also empowered others who want to help them succeed.

  • Will Ross Medal – William L. Kempiners, Springfield, Ill.

The Will Ross Medal is the highest honor bestowed on a volunteer from the American Lung Association who has made a significant contribution to the prevention and control of lung disease. William L. "Bill" Kempiners has been a selfless Lung Association volunteer for more than 37 years. As a four-term Illinois state legislator, director of public health for state of Illinois and executive director of the Illinois Health Care Association, he brought tremendous experience to the Association. Under Kempiners's chairmanship of the Advocacy Committee, Advocacy Day greatly expanded and his vision laid the groundwork for the successful 50-state, 125-participant LUNG FORCE Advocacy Day in 2016. During his tenure, the Lung Association achieved several very significant victories that will improve lung health and help prevent lung disease across America. Among his many landmark achievements, he engaged a wide variety of experts in 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.

For media interested in learning more about or speaking with this year's winners, contact Allison MacMunn at the American Lung Association at [email protected] or 312-801-7628.


About the American Lung Association

The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease, through research, education and advocacy. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to improve the air we breathe; to reduce the burden of lung disease on individuals and their families; and to eliminate tobacco use and tobacco-related diseases. For more information about the American Lung Association, a holder of the coveted 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and a Gold-Level GuideStar Member, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit:

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