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Left to right: Heidi Bayer, immediate past AAFA Board Chair; Kenneth Mendez, AAFA President and CEO; and Dr. Richard Murray, new AAFA Board Chair.

November 14, 2018 – Washington, D.C. – The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) announces the election of Dr. Richard K. Murray, MD, FACP, as the new board chair. Dr. Murray has served as a leader on AAFA’s board of directors since 2016.

Dr. Murray is a pulmonary critical care physician and previously a University of Pennsylvania faculty member and physician leader at Merck & Co., Inc. He is currently serving as a fellow at the Advanced Leadership Initiative at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Dr. Murray’s appointment as AAFA’s board chair comes at a time when AAFA is embracing a new strategic vision to better serve patients with asthma and allergic disease. The 2019-2021 strategic plan builds on AAFA’s 65 years of service to patients and embraces a shift toward better supporting patients and families in underserved communities. Other highlights of the plan include a focus on tripling the size of AAFA’s asthma community, building new programs for different populations and leveraging AAFA’s leadership and expertise to help close gaps in health disparities among people with asthma and allergies.

The priorities in AAFA’s new plan align with the organization’s vision to be recognized as the most trusted ally serving the asthma and allergy community. As a leading patient advocacy organization, AAFA is dedicated to saving lives and reducing the burden of disease for people with asthma and allergies through support, advocacy, education and research.

“I am honored and thrilled to lead the board of directors at AAFA,” said Murray. “In this critical moment for patient rights, it is more important than ever to advocate for the fundamental rights of access to care, clear food labeling and all the issues AAFA fights for. I look forward to building on the legacy of AAFA’s work in the context of the organization’s new strategic direction.”

Kenneth Mendez, AAFA’s president and CEO, commented, “AAFA’s community and the issues we advocate for are vast, so a robust and diverse board of directors is critical to our long-term success. Visionary leaders like Dr. Murray provide valuable strategic guidance that help us focus on our overall mission to improve quality of life for patients.”

Incorporated in January 1953 as a nonprofit organization, AAFA’s bylaws allow for two two-year terms of leadership. Heidi Bayer completes her four-year service as chair in December and will remain as a board member. The board thanked her for her vital leadership and vision during her term.

“Dr. Murray’s leadership, passionate approach and deep commitment to patient rights will be critical to AAFA as we continue to grow our work,” said Bayer. “We cannot wait to see all he and AAFA will accomplish.”

About AAFA

Celebrating 65 years of service, AAFA is the oldest and largest non-profit patient organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for people with asthma, allergies and related conditions through research, education, advocacy and support. AAFA provides practical information and community-based services through its digital communities and network of chapters and support groups. Through its Kids with Food Allergies division, AAFA offers the most extensive online support community for families of children with food allergies. AAFA also helps consumers identify products suitable for those with asthma and allergies through the asthma & allergy friendly® Certification Program. For more information, visit

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