Community Health Leaders
Last updated: June 2023
In order to stay up to date on latest treatments, drug discovery, clinical studies and how to manage Asthma every day, Asthma.net brings you frequent articles, points of view and advice from health leaders and experts.
Current health leaders
Lorene Alba, AE-C
Lorene Alba, AE-C, was diagnosed with asthma during her freshman year. After a successful career as a chef and restaurateur, she decided to make a career change and enter the world of non-profits. Her personal experience with having severe, persistent asthma that was poorly controlled for several years led her into the asthma field. Now she is a certified asthma educator (AE-C) and specializes in developing curricula and teaching clinicians, patients, and caregivers about asthma self-management. Read more.
Christy wasn’t diagnosed with asthma until she was late into high school. She remembers getting a sinus infection that just would not go away and it started to affect her breathing. Later that year she was diagnosed with asthma. Her symptoms continued to worsen year after year until her asthma was labeled as severe persistent. She is thankful to have a wonderful pulmonologist who she works closely with to keep her symptoms (mostly) under control. Read more.
John Bottrell, RRT
John Bottrell is a licensed respiratory therapist who also lives with allergic asthma. He has been blogging about his profession at Respiratory Therapy Cave since 2007 and about his disease at Hardluck Asthma since 2010. He has also been a featured asthma and COPD writer for Health Central since 2008. His love of history inspired him to create Asthma History, where he writes about the history of lung disease, which includes asthma and COPD. Read more.
Peter works and resides in the UK as a driving instructor. From the age of two he was diagnosed with chronic asthma and eczema. Read more.
Theresa Cannizzaro, RRT
Theresa graduated from college and became a respiratory therapist in 2004. She has over 12 years of experience with direct patient care in the hospital setting and, as educating the community on asthma and lung disease. She is a member of the American Association of Respiratory Care (AARC) and credentialed by the National Board of Respiratory Care (NBRC). Theresa has volunteered with the American Lung Association for many years. For the past 8 years, she has served on the medical staff for a summer camp for children with asthma, the same camp she attended as a child. Read more.
Rebecca is 52-year-old who completed her education at Buffalo Academy for Visual and Performing Arts, receiving a B.F.A. in modern dance 1995 from SUNY. Her early dance training, father’s love of poetry and music, and mother’s piano playing have inspired an unabridged love of the arts, and are instrumental in nurturing her unique artistic talents over the years. Read more.
Corinne was not diagnosed with asthma until she was 13-years-old. She vividly remembers getting sick after possibly inhaling water from a swimming snorkel at practice, and her lungs have not been the same since. Read more.
Linda Foy is an artist, author, and creative sharing "Peace, Faith, Joy" in everyday life and on various social media accounts. Linda is a lifelong asthmatic managing the ups and downs of it with the strength of mind, grace, and grit. Read more.
Lynida Jo Harper, MPA, BSRT, RRT, AE-C
Lyn Harper, MPA, BSRT, RRT is the Director of Respiratory Care at White Plains Hospital in New York. In this role, Lyn is instrumental in implementing a comprehensive COPD education process hospital-wide. She is responsible for leading the COPD team that trains patients to manage their COPD through medication, lifestyle adjustments, recognition of flare-ups, and regular visits to their Pulmonologist. Read more.
Asthma just wouldn't allow me to "keep up." Living with asthma changes how I go about my daily life. If there are asthma sufferers out there like me who know no one with asthma, this website is an amazing way to know that you are not alone in your struggle. Read more.
Andrea M. Jensen, CHES, AE-C
Andrea Jensen’s life changed in 2000 when all three of her children were diagnosed with asthma and then hospitalized over the next few years. She did what any mom would do – She quickly began learning more about asthma and how to control it. In the process, she realized that she too had asthma! Andrea is now a Nationally Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES), Certified Asthma Educator(AE-C), and coordinates an Asthma Home Visit Program. Read more.
Leon C. Lebowitz, RRT
Leon is a career respiratory therapy professional He is a New York State licensed, nationally credentialed respiratory therapist and has practiced at many New York metropolitan area hospitals since 1973. Currently, he is the Technical Director of the Respiratory Therapy Department at the Brookdale Hospital and Medical Center in Brooklyn, where he has worked since 1988. As well, he is a founding member of the New York Downstate Association for Respiratory Therapists (NYDART, Inc.) for whom he currently serves as Board Member Emeritus. He has several journal articles and one textbook (Respiratory Care Pearls) to his credit. Read more.
Kerri MacKay is a blogger, coach, quantified self-er, and ePatient. A former gym class hater, she now holds a Bachelor of Physical and Health Education. Diagnosed with asthma in 2008 when she was 16, Kerri believes she is not defined by her diagnoses, but rather that they help explain her. Kerri is a Stanford MedicineX ePatient Scholar (2012 and 2014) and is passionate about patient engagement, self-advocacy, physical activity promotion, and storytelling. Read more.
Kathi is an experienced consumer health education writer who had a career in nursing that spanned more than 30 years, much of it in the field of home health care. She’s been an abundant contributor and writer on a number of consumer health websites over the past 15 years, specializing in the areas of asthma, allergy, and COPD. She writes not only from the perspective of a healthcare professional but also as a lifelong sufferer of severe allergies and mild asthma. Read more.
Megan grew up in a small town, and thought she was the ONLY person with a body like her. But after starting an anonymous blog on social media, childhood determined to hide her illness evolved into a passion for patient advocacy work. Along with asthma (which she diagnosed in high school), she has a plethora of chronic diseases and now shares her life and story of living with multiple chronic illnesses on multiple social media platforms.
Dr. Renee Matthews
Dr. Renee Matthews AKA Ask Dr. Renee as she is affectionately known has made it her life work to educate her community about their health. She's drawn from her experiences while putting her expertise to work for a number of media outlets and the talk show circuit. Read more.
Nicola was diagnosed with asthma at the age of 4. Her mother suspected she had asthma but for months the doctors dismissed the idea. In order for the doctor to see the symptoms she was experiencing, Nicola's mother made her run from home all the way to the doctor's office; breathless and wheezing, which is when a diagnosis was finally given. Read more.
Dia Sue-Wah-Sing is a severe asthmatic, ePatient, advocate, and the current chair of the Asthma Society of Canada ‘s National Asthma Patient Alliance. Dia was diagnosed with severe asthma in 2010, following a diagnosis in her childhood. She became interested in asthma advocacy, out of necessity to improve her quality of life. Read more.
Former health leaders
Samantha lives in the UK and has a degree in economics that sparked a keen interest in social affairs. She previously worked in finance but is now a full-time mum, where she enjoys abstract painting and a wide range of music. She has suffered from Asthma since she was about 9 months old. Read more.
Ann Cuccia, MPH, RRT
Ann is a full-time faculty member in the Respiratory Care Program at Stony Brook University in New York. She has a BA in Biology and Cardiorespiratory Sciences and a Master’s Degree in Public Health. Read more.
Dexter is an engineer from London in his mid-twenties. He has had asthma as long as he can remember, is interested in sharing the many small ways it impacts his daily life, and is always keen to find new little coping mechanisms. He also has a sprinkling of allergies that interact with his asthma: nuts, sesame, peanuts, dogs, dust, mold spores… the list goes on. Read more.
Becky Greiner has experienced graduating from Northern Michigan University, living in Thailand for two years of Peace Corps service, moving across the country from Michigan to Florida, traveling, and becoming a half-marathon runner - all while managing Asthma. Read more.
Kyky Renee Knight is a contributor for Asthma.net and has lived with asthma since she was a child. From an early age, Knight was kept out of physical education courses due to allergies, asthma, and anaphylaxis. Consequently, it wasn't until adulthood that she began to explore what physical activity could look like for the first time as an asthmatic patient. Read more.
TK Sellman, RPSGT CCSH is a career journalist (Columbia Chicago, ’90). She was diagnosed with idiopathic hypersomnia in 2010, which inspired her to go back to school to become a sleep technologist in 2012 and a professional sleep educator in 2014.
Samuel is a recent graduate of Medical Anthropology and French from California State University San Marcos. He is driven by two passions: understanding the systems of foreign cultures and promoting a higher standard of health and wellbeing to his community. Read more.
Kat spends her days working as an IT professional in St. Louis, MO. By night she can be found knitting, gardening, or reading. In 2009 while away at University, Kat was diagnosed with asthma in addition to suffering from lifelong allergies. During this time she began blogging about her experiences with asthma and allergies. Read more.
Ashlen is a journalism student who has also been involved in many aspects of the health and wellness world. She has been teaching yoga for 4 years and practicing for 5 years. She wanted to explore a holistic approach to nutrition, and received her Integrative Nutrition Certificate through UCSD. Read more.
Amanda Workman is a wife, step-mom, and a dog mom in South Texas. She finished a double bachelor’s degree at Houston Baptist University in 2009. Despite limited success with getting a firm grasp on her chronic migraine, fibromyalgia, and endometriosis, Amanda completed a Master’s degree in Human Resources. She currently works for a natural gas and crude oil pipeline company. Last year she suffered from a severe respiratory failure which triggered untreated mild asthma to become very extreme. Read more.
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