May 2012: Asthma Researcher Profile

Respiratory Health Association of Metropolitan Chicago's e-newsletter is published monthly and contains news of our happenings, program updates and links to lung health resources. To receive our monthly e-newsletter, send an email to

This month's issue includes:

May is Asthma Awareness Month!

In recognition of May as Asthma Awareness Month, we're offering a special e-news series that highlights a key aspect of Respiratory Health Association's commitment to addressing asthma in our communities, as well as resources, trainings and other ways you can support asthma efforts.

This week, we highlight the importance of research in caring for a child with asthma. Respiratory Health Association funds research and collaborates with local investigators to ensure we're providing the most accurate and up-to-date information possible. Last summer, we released a special Asthma in Chicago report that features local experts whose research has informed many of our projects and programs.

Below, you'll read about Dr. Anne Marie Singh, who divides her week between researching the causes of asthma in her lab, and helping families of children who have asthma manage the disease and live life to the fullest. You'll also learn about Devan Castellano, who rappelled 27 stories in honor of her son Nunzio as part of our Skyline Plunge! Chicago last weekend.  

Combining Research and Practice

Dr. SinghDr. Anne Marie Singh splits her week between seeing patients at Children's Memorial Hospital and working on research projects at Northwestern University. One of her projects, focused on asthma, is funded by Respiratory Health Association through a grant from the Blowitz-Ridgeway Foundation.

Although she spends the majority of her week in the lab looking for better treatments and cures for asthma and allergies, Dr. Singh says many of her most fulfilling experiences come from opportunities to work directly with pediatric patients and their parents.

"The problem with asthma and allergies is that they're often gradual," she says. "Children get a cough here and there or a runny nose, but it gets worse over time. Parents start to buy in to this 'new normal' for their child, and start pulling them out of activities when they're coughing or wheezing. A large part of my job is getting parents to understand that doesn't have to be the norm for their kids; they should be able to do anything they want to do."

Read more of Dr. Singh's story on our website.

Asthma Action Plans Save Lives

An Asthma Action Plan is a written document created with a health care provider and a patient to outline how best to care for a person with asthma. The plan identifies medications and steps to take when a person has no symptoms, is having an asthma episode, or is having an asthma emergency.

Learn more about Asthma Action Plans on our website.

Get Involved: Skyline Plunge! Chicago

May 5 and 6, more than 80 participants joined us for Skyline Plunge! Chicago at theWit Hotel. Daring participants rappelled 27 stories of the hotel and have raised more than $113,000 to support people living with asthma, COPD, lung cancer and other lung diseases.

DevanDevan Castellano rappelled in honor of her son Nunzio, who was diagnosed with asthma last year. At age 5, Nunzio has had to go to the emergency room more times than many children his age - including once on Easter, when the excitement of a family party brought about an asthma attack. But Devan and her family are learning to manage Nunzio's asthma by recognizing his symptoms and finding the correct medications, and the whole family came out to cheer her on during her rappel.


If you'd like to honor someone you love who's living with asthma, step over the edge in our next Skyline Plunge! on September 8 and 9, 2012! Sign up with a friend by June 30 and you'll each get half off your registration fee.

Learn more and register on our Skyline Plunge! website.

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