Message from our National President & CEO, Harold P. Wimmer

As coronavirus spreads deeper across America, we’re consistently reminded that COVID-19 affects all Americans, and the risk of contracting it is universally threatening. However, while the virus does not discriminate against whom it infects, the pandemic has shined a spotlight on the health disparities within our most underserved populations. Reports and studies from across the nation show the coronavirus is disproportionately infecting and killing people in Black and Brown communities. 

COVID-19 makes what we’ve always known even more apparent: There is no prosperity without health. The pandemic is writing a new chapter in our nation’s history as it exposes deep-rooted health disparities. But together, we must write a new ending for this story. As the trusted champion for lung health, we’re taking bold actions and using innovation to save more lives affected by COVID-19.

In August of 2020, The Lung Association announced that with CVS Health as our presenting sponsor, we’re launching a streaming virtual telethon benefiting our COVID-19 Action Initiative. On September 26th, this star-studded event, #Act4Impact, will be hosted by Queen Latifah and feature a myriad of talent alongside our usual partners – including our long-time supporter, Laura Dern.  

The money raised will go toward defeating COVID-19 and decreasing health disparities by supporting and safeguarding lung health, particularly in underserved communities through the following actions: 


  • We’re advocating to ensure these communities have equal access to testing and treatment while also increasing education around flu vaccines.


  • Many essential, front-line workers are disproportionately Black and Latinx, and therefore the most at risk from exposure to COVID-19. We’re protecting these communities by mobilizing and distributing lung health services, reliable information, and protective equipment they need.  We will also be at the forefront advocating for COVID-19 vaccine availability in underserved communities.


  • Our organization’s vision of a world free of lung disease and a better, healthier future is needed more than ever. Which is why we’re investing in COVID-19 research to accelerate faster detection tests and treatment therapies. We’re equipping and empowering communities to stand together in response to today’s pandemic while laying the foundation to be better prepared to prevent future outbreaks. 

During these times of uncertainty, I encourage you to follow for daily updates, new articles and fact-based advice to help protect yourself and your family. You can also help us share these resources by following us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. In addition, as always, our Lung HelpLine is available at no charge for one-on-one support for your COVID-19 and lung health questions. Call 1-800-LUNGUSA or submit a question online.

Thank you for your support and wishing you good health.

Harold P. Wimmer
National President and CEO
American Lung Association

Page last updated: October 5, 2020

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