Home CHEST Thought Leaders CHEST Foundation Grant Winners: Making a Difference Globally and Locally

CHEST Foundation Grant Winners: Making a Difference Globally and Locally

This year, a total of $500,000 is available through CHEST Foundation grants. As we await the interesting projects and ideas that will be submitted, let’s check in with current and past grant winners to find out about progress on their projects and learn how foundation awards have impacted their work.

Cofounder and CEO of Seed Global Health, Vanessa Kerry, MD, MSc, was awarded the 2015 McCaffree Community Service Humanitarian Grant for her work on building health-care capacity in resource-limited countries. Her project, Strengthening Critical Care Training and Care at Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences, Tanzania, focused on working with the largest hospital in Tanzania.

“The hospital is the main referral hospital for a city with over 1.3 million people, and we’re working with them to build a pulmonary critical care fellowship, which would be one of the only pulmonary critical care fellowships in sub-Saharan Africa,” said Dr. Kerry. “The grant will have a tremendous impact because we’re now able to invest in critical equipment that is essential for education and training,” she stated. “We’re incredibly excited to have this infrastructure investment and to leverage it going forward as we educate and train future doctors.”

In 2013, De De Gardner, MSHP, RRT, FCCP, and Diane Rhodes, BBA, RRT, AE-C, RCP, won the Community Service and Humanitarian Grant for their after-school program, 2+2 Asthma Crew: Asthma in the Elementary School Environment in a San Antonio school district. The program has reached over 350 students and their families and has expanded to five elementary schools in the district. It recently grabbed the attention of the American Lung Association, which awarded four of the schools in the program with the Lung Healthy School Gold Award.

“If we didn’t have the CHEST Foundation grant, our growth and impact would not be as impressive. Previously, we received small grants of $500-$1,000, which allowed us to implement the program on a very small scale, focusing only on one school at a time,” said Gardner. The grant money has also helped propel the careers of University of Texas students involved in the program. “The students who took lead roles in the project received community service leadership and women’s faculty student leader awards.”

Mary Hart, RRT, MS, a 2015 McCaffree Community Service Humanitarian Grantee, is based out of San Antonio. Her project, Asthma Boot Camp, a free 1-day camp, began in 1997 and serves children throughout Texas. “There is great need to help kids learn how to be more aware of their triggers, use their medications properly, and find out how to best manage their asthma. Once they gain control, they’re in school more often and not home sick with their parents,” Hart said of her project. “With this grant, I’ll be able to have a couple of camps and increase the number of kids we reach. We are already planning our next camp, so this money will really come in handy to further filling the need in San Antonio and Texas. 

Each year, the CHEST Foundation offers grants to innovative research candidates, community service volunteers, and distinguished scholars in chest medicine. Nearly 800 recipients worldwide have received more than $10 million in support and recognition for outstanding contributions that champion lung health. Your team could be next. Grant applications will be accepted February 1 through April 30. Link to chestnet.org/grants to learn more.