American Lung Association Expands Leadership to Further Work to End Lung Disease, Address Health Disparities

Two executive positions added to increase critical work to address lung health in America

As COVID-19 infections and related deaths increase, lung disease is now a leading cause of death in America. To work towards its mission to end lung disease, including lung cancer, the American Lung Association today announced the addition of two executives, Lea S. Gutierrez, as Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer, and Joenell Henry-Tanner as Chief of Staff and Senior Vice President, Governance and Strategic Initiatives.

The addition of the two executives is part of an ongoing effort by the Lung Association to double down on its investment in lung health education, advocacy and lifesaving research. It is also part of its commitment to embrace diversity, equity and inclusion within the organization and the communities it serves.

“The expansion of our leadership team is critical to addressing lung disease, which is an urgent health issue that must be addressed from every angle. With the arrival of COVID-19, we have seen fatalities from lung disease increase by 80%, making this a leading cause of death in the U.S. in 2020,” said Harold Wimmer, President and CEO of the American Lung Association. “Joenell Henry-Tanner and Lea Gutierrez bring incredible experience and knowledge that will help us in our work to improve lung health, prevent lung disease, including lung cancer, and ultimately save lives.”

As the new Chief of Staff and Senior Vice President, Governance and Strategic Initiatives for the Lung Association, Henry-Tanner will partner closely with the Executive Leadership Team and Board of Directors to lead strategic planning, implementation of enterprise-wide strategic initiatives and board governance. Henry-Tanner has more than 20 years of experience in the fields of public health, healthcare and human rights. Her prior roles include Chief Racial Equity Officer for Heartland Alliance and Chief of Staff for Heartland Human Care Services, Executive Director for Chicago Asthma Consortium and Hillside Health Care International, and Vice President of Health Equity for American Cancer Society, where she was responsible for strategic planning, organizational change, health equity and board engagement.  Henry-Tanner has an undergraduate degree from Loyola University New Orleans and a Master of Public Health degree from Tulane University School of Public Health & Tropical Medicine.

Gutierrez, the new Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer for the Lung Association, will partner with the Executive Leadership Team and the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council to lead implementation of the organization’s diversity, equity and inclusion strategy. Prior to this new role, she was the Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer for the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office in Chicago. She received her J.D. from Temple University, James E. Beasley School of Law in Philadelphia, her Master of Forensic Science from the George Washington University in Washington, D.C., and her B.A. in Psychology from Hampton University in Virginia and holds a certificate in Strategic Diversity and Inclusion Management from Georgetown University. Additionally, she is a member of the American Bar Association Center for Professional Responsibility DEI Committee, the Chicago Bar Association Young Lawyers Section Racial Justice Coalition and is a Liaison to the Illinois State Bar Association Racial Inequality Committee.  

For media interested in scheduling an interview with a Lung Association executive, contact Jill Dale at 312-940-7001 or [email protected].

For more information, contact:

Jill Dale
[email protected]

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