Asthma Week

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Asthma Week


Welcome Message

Asthma has been recognized since ancient civilizations as a common and important problem and it remains so today.  Much had already been learned about asthma prior to the founding of the American Thoracic Society in 1904, including its principal symptoms of wheeze, shortness of breath, cough and chest tightness.  In 1860, Dr. Henry Hyde Salter wrote the first modern treatise on asthma, which defined the condition as “Paroxysmal dyspnoea of a peculiar character, generally periodic with intervals of healthy respiration between the attacks."  In addition, asthma physicians in the late 19th century had recognized an association with hay fever, sputum and blood eosinophils, nasal polyps, bronchial smooth muscle and stress.  

Over the last century, ATS physicians and investigators and asthma patients have played major collaborative roles in remarkable clinical research that has propelled our understanding of asthma and its treatment forward. This is evidenced by the recent introduction of several new targeted immune therapies for patients with the promise of significantly improved asthma control for many patients. Despite substantial progress over the last several decades, too many patients do not respond fully to current treatment options and adherence to medications is challenging and costly.  Importantly, we still do not understand the causes of asthma and no curative therapy is available to resolve asthma. 

The ATS is highlighting asthma this week to educate patients and those who care for them on the current challenges faced by children and adults with asthma worldwide.  This week will also serve to stimulate physicians, investigators and students to address import gaps in our knowledge of asthma pathogenesis, diagnosis and treatment in the hopes that continued progress through research and innovation will improve asthma control and ultimately discover a cure for this common and disruptive disease. 



Bruce Levy, MD
Chief, Division of Pulmonology and Critical Care Medicine
Brigham and Women's Hospital
Francis B. Parker Professor
Harvard Medical School
Board of Director, American Thoracic Society

Tonya Winders, MBA

Tonya Winders, MBA
Allergy and Asthma Network President & Chief Executive Officer 
Member, ATS Public Advisory Roundtable



Allergy & Asthma Network is the leading nonprofit patient education and advocacy organization for people with asthma, allergies and related conditions. Our patient-centered network unites individuals, families, healthcare professionals, industry and government decision makers to improve health and quality of life for Americans with asthma and allergies. We specialize in making accurate medical information relevant and understandable to all while promoting evidence-based standards of care.