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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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