The American Lung Association has selected Wisconsin’s Lorraine Lathen as the recipient of the national 2020 C. Everett Koop Unsung Hero Award.
Lathen is the Director of the Wisconsin African American Tobacco Prevention Network (WAATPN) and Wisconsin Tobacco Prevention and Poverty Network (WTPPN). She is president and founder of Jump at the Sun Consulting, LLC, an African American, woman–owned firm established in 2007 to address health disparities.
The C. Everett Koop Award recognizes a tobacco control advocate who has made significant, but frequently unrecognized contributions to reduce the burden of tobacco use.
Lathen received the award at the October virtual meeting of the American Lung Association’s National Board of Directors. Among her many accomplishments earning her the recognition, she has:
In accepting the award, Lathen said, “The award I’m graciously accepting today recognizes me as an Unsung Hero for my work to address tobacco related health disparities. But I’d like to tell you who my true heroes are. My heroes are the individuals who live and work, and whose children go to school and play in the communities I serve. They are individuals who, all too often are excluded from the ‘room where it happens’ yet live in communities that are most impacted by tobacco related and other health disparities” (a reference to the Broadway musical Hamilton, the ‘room’ referencing where decisions on public health policy and advocacy are made). “I accept the award on behalf of them.”
Lathen also thanked the Lung Association for its 12 years of support and for “helping us to create these authentic and impactful relationships. I commend the Lung Association for its continued efforts to address health disparities and to save lives,” she added.
Harold Wimmer, CEO of the Lung Association stated, “The American Lung Association is proud to recognize Ms. Lathen, a leader in minority tobacco prevention efforts. She has demonstrated a passion and drive to address racial and ethnic health disparities and social injustice in low-income and Black communities which is a key component of the mission of the American Lung Association.”
Lathen earned a BA in Political Science and French from Marquette University and a MA in International Affairs from American University. She is a resident of Brown Deer and a member of St. Mark AME Church, supportive of its community outreach efforts through the Lovell Johnson Quality of Life Center in Milwaukee.