Former House Speaker Pelosi, Congressman Fitzpatrick Honored by the American Lung Association

Yesterday, the American Lung Association presented its Lung Health Hero Award to Former House speaker, now known as Speaker Emerita, Nancy Pelosi (CA) and its Public Health Champ Award to Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick (PA) for their leadership and support in efforts to improve lung health. 

The annual awards are given out during LUNG FORCE Advocacy Day, where more than 100 LUNG FORCE Heroes – people living with lung cancer and their loved ones – as well as advocates and staff from across the country met with members of Congress this year to advocate for lung cancer research, public health funding and protecting Medicaid.

“Increased funding for research and public health infrastructure, as well as quality and affordable healthcare, are literally a matter of life and death for many people in the U.S.,” said Harold Wimmer, National President and CEO of the American Lung Association. “Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi has championed policies for children and lung health over her entire career. She has done incredible work to improve our healthcare system, increase cancer research funding and reduce the death and disease caused by tobacco use. We are honored to have her support and look forward to working with her on more policies to improve health for everyone.” 

Speaker Emerita Pelosi was presented the Lung Health Hero Award, the highest honor the Lung Association gives to members of Congress, for her passionate and persistent leadership in working for lung health and healthy air. Her work directly led to both the passage of the Affordable Care Act and the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act. The organization also recognized her support for the Clean Air Act, her commitment to protecting children’s health and the Affordable Care Act, and her leadership on the landmark Inflation Reduction Act and its unprecedented investment in clean energy. She also continues to champion Medicaid coverage for those who remain without coverage in the states that have yet to expand.  

“It is with immense gratitude that I humbly accept the Lung Health Hero Award from the American Lung Association,” Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi said. “For more than a century, the American Lung Association has been a crucial champion for Americans battling respiratory illnesses and a relentless advocate for clean air. From taking on Big Tobacco to enacting the Affordable Care Act to achieving historic climate action, it has been my official honor to work alongside the American Lung Association to build a cleaner, healthier world For The Children.” 

“We are proud to honor Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick for his leadership on legislation to improve access to tobacco cessation services and to provide resources to individuals and families facing a devastating cancer diagnosis,” said Wimmer. “He is a strong supporter of proven public health policies, and we look forward to working with him to further critical health initiatives in the U.S.”

Lung Association staff and volunteers presented Congressman Fitzpatrick with the Public Health Champ Award for his work to support endeavors that improve public health and various lung health issues. His support for legislation to improve access to quit tobacco treatments, to prevent youth tobacco use and to provide resources to individuals and families facing a cancer diagnosis is critical to the organization’s mission. The Lung Association also recognized his efforts to address climate change, a major threat to public health. 

“As someone whose family has lost loved ones to cancer, as so many have, I understand the devastating impact this disease has on our nation. I am committed to supporting legislation that funds research, treatment, and prevention,” said Congressman Fitzpatrick. “I’m grateful to the American Lung Association for this recognition, and I look forward to our continued partnership.”

During the American Lung Association’s 2023 LUNG FORCE Advocacy Day on March 29, more than 100 LUNG FORCE Heroes, advocates and staff met with Congress to ask them to support $51 billion in research funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and $11.6 billion in funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and to support and protect Medicaid. Learn more at
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Jill Dale
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