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Dr. Lynn Gerald Receives Distinguished Outreach Faculty Award

  • August 10, 2021

Lynn Gerald, PhD, MSPH, professor and Zuckerman Family Endowed Chair in Prevention and Lifestyle Medicine in the Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, has been awarded the University Distinguished Outreach Faculty Award for 2021. The honor recognizes faculty who demonstrate outstanding commitment to outreach for the common good of the state and the nation, and it is the highest honor awarded in this category at the University of Arizona.  
Dr. Gerald also serves as associate director of clinical and health services research at the Asthma and Airway Disease Research Center. She was nominated for the award by her colleagues in the College of Public Health, UArizona Health Sciences, the College of Medicine – Tucson and the Arizona Asthma Coalition

Lynn Gerald, PhD, MSPHWhile the nomination highlighted her many grants, research publications and education leadership, it drew special attention to her scholarship-based outreach that led to the 2017 passage of a law in Arizona that enables schools to stock and administer emergency albuterol inhalers to treat students with asthma.
During a two-year pilot program led by Dr. Gerald and student researchers, schools that stocked and used emergency inhalers saw a 20% reduction in 911 calls for asthma attacks, and a 40% reduction in emergency transport. Based on these data, Dr. Gerald worked with county and state health officials and state legislators to draft the new legislation. 

Not only has her work impacted student health in Arizona, but her nomination letter also noted that “She has become the national expert on stock inhaler legislation and implementation and is currently working with the American Lung Association and the Allergy and Asthma Network to assist other states in passing stock inhaler legislation and implementing these programs in schools.” Dr. Gerald was recently selected to serve on the Arizona Leadership Board for the American Lung Association.

“I am honored to receive this award. I have worked with schools for over 20 years to help them improve their care for children with asthma. About 10% of children have asthma, and asthma symptoms can occur without warning anytime, so children should always have access to this life-saving medication,” Dr. Gerald explained. “However, our research showed that 80% of children do not have this medication at school. When children don’t have this medication, schools often have to call 911. When schools have a stock inhaler, a child can use a few puffs of it and often to go back to class.”  

“We are so proud of all that Dr. Gerald has accomplished,” said Iman Hakim, MD, PhD, MPH, dean of the College of Public Health. “From her research leadership and her dedication to students, to her focus on translating scientific knowledge into policies and programs that make a real impact on people’s lives, Lynn stands out as a public health leader. This award helps to recognize the scope of her contribution.”

The award is sponsored by University of Arizona Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost and comes with a $5,000 increase to base salary.  Nominations are reviewed by a university-wide committee.