American Lung Association Receives $2 Million Grant from United Health Foundation to Help Build Healthier Communities in the Upper Midwest

March 30, 2015
  • Grant will support the Enhancing Asthma Care for Children project in five markets, including St. Louis

The American Lung Association of the Upper Midwest has been awarded a $2 million grant over three years by United Health Foundation to help support the “Enhancing Asthma Care for Children” project in 90 clinics across the Midwest, including the St. Louis metro area.

Enhancing Asthma Care for Children aims to improve the quality of life, school achievement, and life prospects of more than 180,000 low-income children living with asthma in St. Louis, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Minneapolis and a fifth city to be identified later this year. The project aims to help reduce the costs of asthma care in these communities by reducing unnecessary health care utilization; to enhance awareness of asthma treatment and education resources; and to establish a sustainable capacity of local public health and social service agencies to remove asthma environmental triggers, and identify and refer children with poorly managed asthma.  

The grant is part of United Health Foundation’s “Helping Build Healthier Communities” program that is providing critical resources to nonprofit, community-based organizations across the country to improve people’s health.

“We are thrilled to receive United Health Foundation’s support in helping us expand our work and enhance the health and well-being of greater St. Louis,” said Mary Kitley, executive director, American Lung Association in Missouri. “By supporting Enhancing Asthma Care for Children, the United Health Foundation grant will help us significantly improve the quality of life of children in our community living with asthma.”

The grant was awarded March 28 during the St. Louis Fight For Air Climb that brings together individuals and teams to climb 40 floors of the tallest building in St. Louis, Metropolitan Square. Every step taken and every dollar raised at the event supports the Lung Association’s services in St. Louis to improve lung health and prevent lung disease through education, advocacy and research.

“United Health Foundation is grateful for the opportunity to support the American Lung Association’s efforts in bringing new, innovative approaches in care,” said George Durko of UnitedHealthcare and board member of the American Lung Association in Missouri. “The American Lung Association’s work in the community is showing significant results and enhancing people’s health and quality of life, particularly in underserved areas.”

Reaching more than 500,000 people each year, the Lung Association of the Upper Midwest is a regional charter of the national American Lung Association.  The Lung Association of the Upper Midwest is composed of 10 state associations across the Midwest: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin. Each office provides  lung disease education and intervention programs to improve management and reduce disability; tobacco prevention and control programs; professional education programs to improve lung disease treatment; and, programs to improve outdoor and indoor air quality.

The United Health Foundation grant will be administered by the Lung Association of the Upper Midwest over a three-year period. The Enhancing Asthma Care for Children project will be implemented in coordination with local clinics, and success measurements will include significant improvement in asthma health outcomes and control, and significant reduction in health care costs.

About the American Lung Association of the Upper Midwest
Our mission is to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease. With your generous support, the American Lung Association is "Fighting for Air" through research, education and advocacy. For more information about the American Lung Association or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNG-USA (1-800-586-4872) or visit

About United Health Foundation
Through collaboration with community partners, grants and outreach efforts, United Health Foundation works to improve our health system, build a diverse and dynamic health workforce and enhance the well-being of local communities. United Health Foundation was established by UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH) in 1999 as a not-for-profit, private foundation dedicated to improving health and health care. To date, United Health Foundation has committed more than $240 million to programs and communities around the world. We invite you to learn more at

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