Maryland Researcher Awarded $50,000 American Lung Association Grant to Study COPD

Lung health research is more important than ever. Never have we faced so many challenges to our lung health, including COVID-19, vaping and smoke from increased wildfires. Today, the American Lung Association in Maryland announced that Daniel Belz, MD, MPH, of John Hopkins University School of Medicine and Towson, Maryland resident, was awarded the Catalyst Award for the “Can Healthy Diet Reduce Risk of COPD Rehospitalization” project.

In Maryland there are 228,500 people living with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) alone. Belz’s research aims to determine if healthy diet can reduce the rise of COPD rehospitalization. Scientists are learning more about how certain foods may help protect lungs from inflammation, and patients may have trouble obtaining and preparing healthy foods after returning home from the hospital. The results of Belz’s study may help design programs involving healthy diets to help patients recover from (COPD) flares and prevent the need to return to the hospital. 

“The transition from hospital to home is a high-risk time for those living with chronic lung disease, and many patients have to return to the hospital within just a few weeks of discharge. I am excited to work with the American Lung Association to study how access to healthy food, including foods that reduce inflammation, may help keep patients with COPD healthy and out of the hospital,” said Dr. Belz.

“Here in Maryland, we face lung health challenges every day and there are more than 676,000 people in our state are living with chronic lung disease,” said Deborah Brown, Chief Mission Officer at the Lung Association. “We are excited for Daniel Belz of John Hopkins University School of Medicine to join the American Lung Association Research Team to help improve lung health here in Maryland and across the nation.” 

In the 2022-2023 grants cycle, the Lung Association is funding $13.2 million for more than 130 lung health research grants. For this round of funding, the organization placed a greater focus on strategic partnerships with key organizations like American Thoracic Society and CHEST, and grants that focus on equity like the Harold Amos Scholar.

Research projects funded by the Lung Association are carefully selected through rigorous scientific review and awardees represent the investigation of a wide range of complex issues. Awards were given in eight different categories; ALA/AAAAI Allergic Respiratory Diseases Award, ALA/ATS/CHEST Foundation Respiratory Health Equity Research Award, Catalyst Award, COVID-19 Respiratory Virus Research Award, Dalsemer Award, Innovation Award, Lung Cancer Discovery Award, and Public Policy Research Award. 

The Lung Association’s Nationwide Research Program includes the Awards and Grants Program, and also our Airways Clinical Research Network, the nation's largest not-for-profit network of clinical research centers dedicated to asthma and COPD treatment research.

For more information about the new grant awardees and the entire American Lung Association Research Team, visit

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