New medications and better diagnostics have brought great improvements in asthma care. However, we still do not know what causes asthma. We can neither prevent asthma nor cure it. Hospitalizations and emergency room visits remain unacceptably high. For patients with severe disease, asthma remains deadly, causing an average of 10 deaths in the United States every day.
Michael Wechsler, MD, MMSc; Ronina Covar, MD; and Rohit Katial, MD; are directing the Cohen Family Asthma Institute in its search for a cure for asthma.
Thanks to an initial $5 million gift from Michele and Martin Cohen, National Jewish Health has launched the Cohen Family Asthma Institute to focus on the causes, treatments and prevention of severe asthma. The institute builds on historic strengths at National Jewish Health in asthma, allergy and immunology. It brings together a broad coalition of researchers, physicians, patients and health care organizations to seek a cure for severe asthma. The Cohen Family Asthma Institute is led by Co-Directors Michael Wechsler, MD, MMSc; and Rohit Katial, MD; and Associate Director Ronina Covar, MD. The Cohen Family Asthma Institute’s Board of Directors is chaired by Richard Martin, MD, who is also chair of the Department of Medicine at National Jewish Health.
“Severe asthma is a complex disease. Many would say it is several diseases. That is why we need a broad range of medical and scientific expertise to collaborate on this problem,” said Dr. Martin. “While many of us here at National Jewish Health have focused on various aspects of asthma, we will reap enormous benefits as the Cohen Family Asthma Institute brings molecular and cell biologists together with physicians, psychologists, epidemiologists and educators who all have a singular focus on curing severe asthma.”
Michele and Martin Cohen are longtime supporters of the institution. Cohen has been a national trustee of National Jewish Health since 2007.
“We have been so impressed over the years by the extraordinary dedication and excellence at National Jewish Health that we wanted to make an impactful gift,” said Cohen. “When I asked, they told me, ‘Asthma is where your gift can make an important difference.’ Michele and I are proud to fund this pioneering initiative.”