Our Focus

BREATHE California of Los Angeles County is a non-profit, non-partisan organization that promotes clean air and healthy lungs through education, research, technology and advocacy. Our goal is to promote community health services through prevention, education and early diagnosis for low-income underserved individuals suffering from respiratory related chronic conditions such as asthma, lung disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) which is now the third leading cause of death in the United States. While COPD continues to be on the rise, it remains one of the most poorly funded areas of medical treatment, advocacy and research. COPD has now reached epidemic proportions with more than 15 million Americans diagnosed with COPD and of that number, more than 300,000 Los Angeles residents having been diagnosed with the disease.

Our History

BREATHE California of Los Angeles County (BREATHE LA) was first formed in 1903 as an independent lung health organization called the Los Angeles Society for the Study and Prevention of Tuberculosis. The organization served the city’s growing population of more than 300,000. For more than 30 years, the organization was committed to increasing public awareness about the tuberculosis (TB) epidemic and other lung-related diseases-including asthma, bronchitis and emphysema and working towards eradicating these diseases. Since its creation in 1903, BREATHE LA has undergone a number of name changes, including:

1927

Incorporated as Los Angeles Tuberculosis & Health Association

1952

Los Angeles County Tuberculosis and Health Association

1958

Tuberculosis & Health Association of Los Angeles County

1968

Tuberculosis & Respiratory Disease Association of Los Angeles County

1974

Lung Association of Los Angeles County

1979

American Lung Association of Los Angeles County

2006

BREATHE California of Los Angeles County

Advances in technology, healthcare access and medicine all contributed to a dramatic downturn in active TB cases. As a result, the organization began to take an increased interest in the relationships between air pollution and respiratory disease. During the mid-20th Century, the fight against smog in Los Angeles became a major effort and the measuring of air pollution began. In the early 1970s, the organization focused on the prevention and control of lung disease and sponsored extensive research on the effects of air pollution on respiratory health. We were one of the first organizations to do so and we carry on this tradition today. For a number of years, the organization was affiliated with the American Lung Association (ALA) and American Lung Association of California (ALAC). In 2006, the organization ended its affiliation with ALA and ALAC, and is no longer affiliated in any way with those organizations.

BREATHE California of Los Angeles County (BREATHE LA) rebranded itself in 2006, continuing our mission dedicated to clean air and preventing lung and other air pollution related diseases by partnering with youth, advocating public policy, supporting lung health research, and educating the public. BREATHE LA emphasizes our focus as an independent lung health organization to address Southern California’s specific air quality and health needs. As pediatric asthma rates increased nationwide, the organization also placed greater emphasis on asthma education programs, while continuing to pursue clean air initiatives.

BREATHE LA is a member of the BREATHE America Alliance, a network of nationwide independent lung health organizations, and the BREATHE California Coalition, which includes two other BREATHE California organizations that focus on the Sacramento Region and the San Francisco Bay Area/Silicon Valley/Central Coast. The BREATHE California coalition focuses on localized programs and comes together to implement programs and research that benefit all Californians. We work together to advance primary and secondary lung disease prevention and interventions, as well as advocate for clean air policies and practices in Sacramento.

To learn more about the activities of our affiliates and our statewide presence, visit www.breathecalifornia.org.

Mission & Vision

Our Mission

Promoting clean air and healthy lungs through research, education, advocacy and technology.

Our Vision

To provide resources that educate families living in the Los Angeles region to improve their community’s air quality and lung health.

Statewide, 1.2 million children have asthma and half of those children have never been given an asthma management plan. Of the 1.2 million, 200,000 live in Los Angeles – a city with the nation’s worst air quality.

We provide under-resourced neighborhoods with effective lung health services to change how they live their everyday lives. It can increase their access to proper healthcare, improve their overall health, and keep children in school.

The fight for clean air is a tough battle, but it is possible. We work with local experts, community members, and politicians to advocate for the best practices in reclaiming the air you breathe and protecting every lung.

We believe we are all in this together! Help us end air pollution and usher in healthy lungs for all. Join us and make a lasting impact in your community. Become a donor and give the gift of clean air all year long.

Our Leadership

Officers

  • Lawrence M. Lebowsky, Esq.
    Attorney-at-Law
    Law Office of Lawrence M. Lebowsky
    CHAIR
  • Steven L. Bryson, Esq.
    Attorney-at-Law
    Law Office of Steven L Bryson
    IMMEDIATE PAST CHAIR
  • Cynthia C. Carter
    City of Los Angeles (retired)
    SECRETARY
  • Andrea M. Caster, Esq.
    Attorney & Counselor at Law
    Law Office of Andrea Merrell Caster
    TREASURER

Members

  • Yossef Aelony, M.D.
    Clinical Professor of Medicine (Pulmonary)
    Harbor-UCLA Medical Center
  • Robert Berliner, Esq.             
    Of Counsel
    Brooks Kushman P.C.
  • Hank Casillas
    Division Vice President (retired)
    CVS Health
  • Mario Chavez
    Director of Government Affairs
    St. John’s Well Child & Family Center
  • Larry Chung
    Director, Global External Affairs & Government Relations
    Disney Parks, Experiences and Products
  • Robert L. Duitsman, Esq.
    Robert L. Duitsman, Attorney-at-Law
  • Anita Quiñonez Gabrielian
    Partner
    CG Benefits Group
  • Diana Guth, BA, RRT
    Owner
    Home Respiratory Care
  • Eileena James, M.B.A.
    Golden State Insurance (retired)
  • Lucy Labruzzo
    Senior Vice President of Energy Infrastructure
    Cordoba Corp.
  • Janet K. Leader, M.P.H., R.D.
    Associate Director of Field Studies (retired)
    Department of Community Health Sciences
    UCLA Fielding School of Public Health
  • Lauren Nevitt, Esq.
    Environmental Affairs Manager
    Southern California Gas Company
  • James M. Okazaki, P.E
    Okazaki & Associates
  • Eugene A. Port, M.P.H.
    Occupational Health Specialist (retired)
  • Jud R. Schoendorf, M.D.         
    Allergist
    Healthcare Partners Medical Group
  • Guy W. Soo Hoo, M.D.                                                                               
    Director, Medical Intensive Care Unit
    Pulmonary & Clinical Care Section
    West Los Angeles VA Medical Center
  • Alexis Wiley
    Director, Communications & Media
    Gladstein, Neandross & Associates

Our Staff

Marc Carrel

President/CEO

Kara Karibian

Director of Programs

Rafael Magaña

Director of Development & Communications

Robert Jo

Director of Operations

Rich Whittington

Assistant Director of Operations

Andrea Oriza

Development Manager

Pasquale Gianni

Communications Manager

Raj Dhillon

Manager of Advocacy & Policy

Rosemarie Ferri

Grants Manager

Lynette Marquez

Health Educator

Claudia Martinez

Health Educator

Deborah Maxwell

Programs Coordinator

Risha Parada

Community Outreach Coordinator

Silvia Trevino

Community Outreach Educator

Pesach Chananiah

Community Organizer

Joanna Panosian

Executive Assistant

Arnell Ware

Stockroom/Mailroom

Soli Rachwall

Development & Communication Intern

Arabi Hassan

Advocacy & Public Policy Inter

Jonathan Roque

Digital and Social Media Marketing Coordinator

Sponsors & Partners