American Lung Association Honors International Tobacco Control Champion

Coloradan to be presented award today at Ouray County 4-H Event Center

Today, the American Lung Association will honor Carolyn Dresler, MD, MPA, with the 2021 American Lung Association’s C. Everett Koop Unsung Hero Award. Dr. Dresler will be recognized for her remarkable career and contributions she made to significantly reducing tobacco use in Colorado, the U.S. and around the world. Media is invited to the presentation which will take place at 12 p.m. at the Ouray County 4-H Event Center. 
“Dr. Dresler is a force for good in the world. Her efforts to reduce tobacco use and secondhand smoke exposure have undoubtedly impacted millions of lives around the world,” said Harold Wimmer, President and CEO of the American Lung Association. “Her vision has moved the world closer to being free from tobacco.”

Because of the detrimental impact of tobacco on lives, particularly watching her grandmother die from smoking-caused lung cancer, she became a thoracic surgical oncologist. She broadened her career to including preventing tobacco-caused disease and death in addition to treating it. 

She has worked at the state, national and international levels to prevent death and disease from tobacco. Her remarkable career includes serving as Associate Director for Medical and Health Sciences for the Office of Science at the Center for Tobacco Products within the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Director for the Arkansas Department of Health Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Program and global medical director for smoking cessation products at GlaxoSmithKline. Her international credentials also include tenure as Group Head of the Tobacco and Cancer Group at the International Agency for Research on Cancer in Lyon, France – a sister organization of the World Health Organization.

Dr. Dresler went back to school at the Kennedy School of Government to learn more about how to do tobacco control policy. There, a novel independent study convinced her and others that the actions of the tobacco industry in growing, producing, marketing and selling tobacco amounted to a violation of the internationally recognized human right to health. In 2008, under the leadership of Dr. Dresler, the Human Rights and Tobacco Control Network, was established. This global collaboration employed a new vision – and a human rights-based approach to ending the tobacco epidemic.

Since 2000, the American Lung Association’s annual C. Everett Koop Unsung Hero Award honors an individual who works to change policy to prevent kids from starting and help tobacco users quit. These unsung heroes are the ones who make a tobacco-free future possible by working to end the tobacco epidemic. Dr. Dresler’s life’s work inspired many and touched an untold number of lives. 

Learn more about the C. Everett Koop Unsung Hero Award here

For more information, contact:

James A. Martinez
(312) 445-2501
[email protected]

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