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Dr. Lynn Gerald Awarded Asthma Foundation Lectureship

  • June 13, 2022

Lynn Gerald, PhD, MSPH, Distinguished Outreach Faculty and the Zuckerman Family Endowed Chair in Prevention and Lifestyle Medicine at the University of Arizona Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, was awarded the 2022 Robert F. Lemanske, Jr., MD, FAAAAI Lectureship by the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI) and AAAAI Foundation.

Lynn T. Gerald, PhD, MSPHThe lectureship is dedicated to Dr. Lemanske, a physician/scientist who served as AAAAI president, director and chair of the American Board of Allergy and Immunology, and a member of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) Advisory Council. During his presidency in 2015-16, Dr. Lemanske, a professor emeritus of pediatrics and medicine at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, helped create the School-based Allergy, Asthma and Anaphylaxis Management Program (SAMPRO™).

“This was a great honor,” Dr. Gerald said. “I know Dr. Lemanske, and when he was president of AAAAI, he was really trying to put together a standardized program with all the components schools should think about when trying to manage children’s asthma. There have been programs around for schools for 20 to 25 years, but to have a national organization come out and say, ‘Here’s what you need to help children with asthma in schools’ – that was a great thing for him to take on with his presidency.”

Dr. Gerald was recognized in February at the AAAAI annual meeting in Phoenix, where she provided a lecture updating her efforts to promote legislation and programs around the country to allow schools to stock inhalers to quickly address children having asthma attacks. Her efforts were key in getting the Arizona Legislature to pass a 2017 law allowing inhalers to be administered by more than just school nurses.

Dr. Gerald said, “Essentially, kids with asthma might have an attack anywhere, and at school is one of the most common places. We found very few children, less than 10%, actually have their inhaler with them when they have an attack. One of the issues was, since this is prescription medicine, it has to be ordered by a physician, and only nurses can follow a physician’s order. We wanted to make a law where anybody without a medical degree could use these at school if a child has an emergency. We were able to work with the legislature to get a law passed that made that legal in Arizona.”

In 2018, Dr. Gerald collaborated with the Pima County Health Department and Superintendent’s Office to implement and evaluate stock inhalers in all 300 Pima County schools. The program continues today and has expanded statewide. Since then, one of her missions has been to get other states to pass or strengthen similar laws.

Until last November, Dr. Gerald served as clinical research unit associate director for the UArizona Health Sciences Asthma and Airways Disease Research Center. Her area of expertise is in pediatric asthma and she has maintained continuous funding from NHLBI, a unit of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), in the study of school-based asthma interventions for 20 years.

Currently, Dr. Gerald serves as a principal investigator (PI) of the American Lung Association Airways Clinical Research Center at UArizona Health Sciences, PI of an NIH-funded R31 grant examining feasibility of connecting emergency departments and schools to improve asthma disparities, and co-PI of a U01 grant that’s implementing interventions on the Navajo Nation to improve health disparities in pediatric asthma. She has a strong background in implementation of community programs to improve pediatric health equity.

Dr. Gerald earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) in 1990, a master’s in sociology from the University of South Alabama in 1992, and a master’s in public health in epidemiology and a doctorate in medical sociology from UAB in 1997. She also has both an undergraduate and graduate certificate in gerontology from UAB, which presented her with the 2019 Department of Psychology Distinguished Service Alumni Award as well as the 2015 College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Alumni Award. In addition, she has been recognized with the 2019 Senator Andy Nichols Award from the Arizona Public Health Association and 2017 Presidential Commendation for Service, 2014 Behavioral Science Assembly Lifetime Achievement Award and 2014 Health Equality Award for Clinical Programs from the American Thoracic Society.

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