|GOODBYE 2020, WELCOME 2021!
FAH looks ahead to the new year
Posted on 12/16/2020 by Foundation for Airway Health
|As a very tough year is coming to an end, dominated by what is considered one of the biggest health crises the U.S. and the world have faced in generations, the leaders of the Foundation for Airway Health are taking stock of 2020 and looking forward to facing and overcoming the challenges ahead in 2021.
“In the midst of a COVID-19 pandemic that’s still unfolding, FAH has been part of the solution by empowering people with trustworthy information to protect their airways against the coronavirus and to safeguard public health,” says founder, Dr. Howard Hindin. “At the same time, we have effectively and successfully shone more light on that other unrecognized pandemic that also affects millions of people worldwide – airway health disorders – which is at the core of our mission.” He adds, “Much has been accomplished, and with your cooperation and contributions, much more will be achieved.”
During a critical winter season in which COVID-19 fatalities continue to mount, following basic protocols to prevent the spread of the virus and save lives must remain a high priority, says Hindin. “Wear a mask to keep the virus out of your airway,” he states, “especially if you already experience airway health issues.” He also says, “Please practice social distancing in public, wash your hands often, use hand sanitizer, and limit your trips to essential things like getting groceries and medicine. Protect your loved ones and yourself. Remember: it all starts with the airway!”
With the recent arrival and rollout of vaccines in the U.K. and U.S.- and more to come in the next few months, FAH executive director Sal Rodas sees light at the end of the tunnel to finally defeat the pandemic. “Vaccines are safe and effective, they’re an essential tool to win this war,” he says. But it won’t happen overnight, warns Rodas. “It’ll take time, several months for everyone to get vaccinated,” he says. “That means that for now we all must remain vigilant about observing basic prevention protocols. As individuals, we are still the best line of defense for our airways against the coronavirus. At FAH, we are committed to being part of the solution.”
That was evident at the Foundation’s first-ever worldwide webathon earlier in the year to raise awareness about airway health issues. Planning of the event was already months underway when the coronavirus hit and started to spread around the globe. Titled, “O2 Breathe-A-Thon”, it quickly adapted to also address the microscopic invader that uses the airway as a gateway into the body. Advice on infection prevention was featured throughout the 12-hour webathon.
The Breathe-A-Thon proved to be a tremendous success, reaching over one million people with the help of social media platforms and the support and participation of Hollywood actors, media personalities, world-famous singers and entertainers, filmmakers, social media influencers. The core of the program featured top medical and research experts on airway health from America, Australia, India, Europe, Africa and other parts of the world. The webathon also raised thousands of dollars for educational, outreach and other programs of the Foundation for Airway Health. “The Breathe-A-Thon was a dream come true,” says Hindin, the FAH founder. “It was our goal to reach that many people by 2021.” He adds with pride in his voice, “Mission accomplished one year early.”
The year also saw the Foundation continue to work in concert with major medical groups like the American Dental Association (ADA) and the American Dental Assistants Association (ADAA) in the development of protocols to help screen for airway issues in patients as they visit the dentist’s office. “These medical professionals are key to identify airway problems that have been overlooked for way too long,” says Hindin. “We are at the verge of great breakthroughs to improve the health of millions of Americans. And we hope to replicate the same model in the rest of the world.”
Furthermore, in November, FAH helped organize a workshop at the Collaboration Cures 2020 Airway Summit, an annual event of American Academy of Physiological Medicine and Dentistry. "The Future of Orthodontics: Problems, Possibilities and Potentials" featured experts exploring the connection between dentistry and airway health. The AAPMD is a nonprofit dedicated to providing its professional membership tools and ability to recognize the role and importance of optimal airway physiology and sleep in the areas of health, development, performance, and function. The group also advocates for affordable airway care for all. “This kind of effort ensures we get all critical healthcare professionals onboard to address the epidemic of airway health disorders and other issues,” says Rodas, the FAH executive director. “Expect more programs like that in 2021.”
The new year will see the Foundation for Airway Health expanding its educational and outreach efforts with monthly series of videos and other content to raise awareness about airway issues, adds Rodas. “We are developing the most comprehensive content library in our field and the largest network of airway health care providers to refer patients to,” he states.
Also, FAH is already working on the planning of the 2021 Breathe-A-Thon for next October. “We hope that the COVID-19 crisis will be under control in the new year and the enormous pandemic of airway health issues will finally get the attention it deserves,” says Rodas. “With people's support and contributions, we’ll be able to improve the health and quality of life for millions of people.”
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