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Praveen Buddiga, MD, Leader of the Year

Praveen Buddiga

Asthma and allergy specialist Praveen Buddiga, MD, of Fresno, a volunteer physician of the American Lung Association in California, was honored Friday, September 19, 2014, as the Physician Leader of the Year by the Network for Ethnic Physician Organizations at their annual Leadership Summit in Riverside, Calif. He was recognized for his outstanding leadership to support ethnic health care professionals, eliminate healthcare disparities, to reduce air pollution and climate change, and create healthier communities with greater options for walking, biking and other clean air options.

Of East Indian/Asian origin, Dr. Buddiga has helped develop a network of clinics that offer Allergy, Asthma, Immunology and Sinus services in underserved areas of the Central Valley to help address the lack of health care. Dr. Buddiga also is a champion for those living with asthma, lung cancer, COPD and other serious lung health challenges.

"Dr. Buddiga has been an outstanding leader in our Health Professionals for Clean Air Campaign, to raise awareness about the devastating health impacts of air pollution and climate change," said Olivia Gertz, CEO, American Lung Association in California. "As an expert Asthma and Allergy physician who sees the daily impacts of poor air quality on his patient's health, Dr. Buddiga's health voice has been instrumental in building support for important clean air policies in California that are reducing pollution, which especially impacts our most disadvantaged communities in the San Joaquin Valley."

Currently the CEO of the Baz Allergy, Asthma & Sinus Center, he is a Delegate for the California Medical Association representing the Fresno-Madera Medical Society. He also is an active Board member on the Environmental Justice Advisory Group (EJAG) of the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District.

"As long as I have known Dr. Buddiga, his "mantra" has been to help all patients regardless of ethnicity, disability, age, race, religion or gender. He treats all his patients with respect, compassion and empathy and provides leadership within his community to eliminate disparities in health care," said Dr. Malik Baz.

Dr. Buddiga has been actively involved in numerous air quality and climate policies, including AB 32 (Global Warming Solutions Act, 2006), SB 375 (Sustainable Communities and Climate Protection Act, 2007), the Low Carbon Fuel Standard, as well as clean air policies that focus on addressing health disparities in low-income communities.

"Dr. Buddiga is an effective spokesperson to help the public and policymakers understand the important link between transportation, air pollution, climate change and health, and the need for policies to transition away from polluting fossil fuel use," said Gertz. "Since many of his patients are from low-income communities, he recognizes that strong government policies to control greenhouse gases and harmful emissions are critical to protecting their health."

Climate change is considered the most important public health threat of our century. Over-dependence on dirty fossil fuels has been the major contributor to climate pollution and the state's severe smog and soot problems.

Below are examples of Dr. Buddiga's leadership to advocate to protect the health of all Californians, including our most vulnerable communities:

  • Served as a physician spokesperson for the American Lung Association 2014 State of the Air report. His interview in the Visalia Delta Times highlighted the health impacts of air pollution in the Central Valley and ways the public can help do their part to clean the air.
  • Served as physician spokesperson for the Public Health Crossroads news release and report, a study that found $416 million could be saved in health costs per year from smarter, more compact and walkable development in the San Joaquin Valley, whose residents live with some of the worst air pollution problems in the country.
  • His Op Ed in the Fresno Bee, "Time to Plan for a Healthier Fresno County" highlighted the health impacts of poor community planning and the need for greater walking, cycling and transit options which can significantly reduce air pollution, greenhouse gases and a wide range of chronic illnesses as communities are built around cleaner transportation choices.

"Dr. Buddiga's volunteerism for the American Lung Association in California has helped improve air quality and reduce the impact of climate change, and it is important to highlight that Dr. Buddiga accomplishes this on top of a very busy practice serving the underserved in the San Joaquin Valley region," said Gertz. "We salute his commitment to improve the health of his patients as well as the broader community and future generations."

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