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National Jewish founds asthma institute

Martin and Michele Cohen

Martin and Michele Cohen


National Jewish Health announced the creation of The Cohen Family Asthma Institute, which will address an emerging gap in severe asthma care, research and education while seeking a cure for the disease in five years.

The Cohen Family Asthma Institute was established with a $5 million gift from Michele and Martin Cohen of New York.

“We have made great strides in asthma care, but significant needs remain, especially for patients with severe, life-threatening asthma,” said Michael Salem, MD, president and CEO of National Jewish Health.

“With this tremendous gift from the Cohens, we aim to continue our decades of focused excellence in asthma research and care. The creation of the Asthma Institute will serve as the catalyst to enable us to approach a cure for children and adults suffering from severe asthma.”

Asthma prevalence continues to rise, now afflicting 25 million Americans. Asthma kills thousands of people and causes 2.2 million hospitalizations and emergency room visits every year. Direct health care costs of asthma are more than $50 billion per year.

“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, a national trustee for the institution.

“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.”

Cohen is chairman and a founder of Cohen & Steers, Inc., a global asset management company known for its expertise in real estate investment trusts.

He is on the boards of The City College 21st Century Foundation, Guild Hall of East Hampton, the Central Park Conservancy and the Hebrew Union College — Jewish Institute of Religion.

Michele Cohen is chair of New York’s Museum of Arts and Design and on the board of trustees at Alfred University and the University of Vermont Foundation.

The Cohen Family Asthma Institute will build on historic strengths at National Jewish Health in asthma, allergy and immunology while bringing together a coalition of researchers, physicians, patients and health care organizations to focus on the causes, treatments and prevention of asthma.

Co-Directors Michael Wechsler, MD, and Rohit Katial, MD, with Associate Director Ronina Covar, MD, will lead the Cohen Family Asthma Institute.

Richard Martin, MD, who is chair of the Department of Medicine at National Jewish Health, will also chair the Cohen Family Asthma Institute’s Board of Directors.

The Cohen Family Asthma Institute will have additional national reach through collaborations in New York with the Mount Sinai — National Jewish Health Respiratory Institute, and locally with Saint Joseph Hospital and its parent SCL Health, and with Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children.

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