Legacy for Airway Health

In 2017, an unprecedented gift of approximately C$29 million was made to the VGH&UBC Foundation for investment in research and care of asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).  The Legacy for Airway Health (LAH) initiative was created in 2018 with the intent to leverage this gift to accelerate research and its efficient translation into improved policy changes, behaviour and practices for the prevention and care of asthma and COPD. 


Airway health through knowledge creation, dissemination and application 


Legacy for Airway Health will lead and accelerate the creation and translation of knowledge into world-class prevention of, and care for, persons living with asthma and COPD


  • Patient-centricity: work for and with patients and those at risk; focus on impact to them
  • Excellence: strive for the highest calibre of effort and outcomes; never accept mediocrity 
  • Innovation: seek novel and practical solutions; bring creative lens to challenges
  • Collaboration: embrace interdisciplinary thinking and alternative views; cooperate for synergy 
  • Impact: Ensure transformational outcomes by accountability to objectives and goals


Dr. Christopher Carlsten, Director
Dr. Phalgun Joshi, Director of Operations

Governance Committee 

  • Dr. Patricia Daly, Vice-President, Public Health and Chief Medical Health Officer (Chair)
  • Ms. Angela Chapman, President & CEO, VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation
  • Dr. David Granville, Executive Director, Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute
  • Dr. Mark FitzGerald, Professor of Medicine, UBC, and Director, Centre for Heart and Lung Health, VCHRI
  • Dr. Darryl Knight, Vice President, Research and Academic Affairs, Providence Health Care
  • Dr. Julio Montaner, Director, Infectious Disease Clinic and Physician Program Director for HIV/AIDS at Providence Health Care and Director, BC Centre of Excellence in HIV/AIDS
  • Dr. Michael Allard, Vice Dean, Health Engagement, University of British Columbia
  • Ms. Carmen Rempel, Respiratory Therapist, VCH
  • Dr. Nardia Strydom, Department Head of Family and Community Medicine, and Regional Medical Director of Primary Care, VCH
  • Ms. Santa Chow, Co-Chair of the LAH Community Stakeholder Committee
  • Mr. Anthony Lanier, Co-Chair of the LAH Community Stakeholder Committee
  • Dr. Chris Carlsten, Professor and Head of Respiratory Division, Faculty of Medicine, UBC and Director, LAH (Ex-officio)

Facts about COPD and Asthma

  • Asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) are the two most common chronic respiratory conditions worldwide, causing devastating physical, psychological and financial hardships, and significant cost to the health care system. 
  • Despite extensive and excellent research continuing to occur around the prevention and treatment of people living with asthma and COPD, the impact of the research is limited, as noted by the increasing incidence of these conditions in the global population and the lack of wide and consistent adoption of best practices and policies for prevention and improved clinical care.
  • There are numerous barriers to effective translation that include: insufficient or distorted appreciation of the key drivers of airways disease, inadequate use of systems science, modeling and analytic tools, incomplete harnessing of informatics and data-power, lack of expertise in meaningful translation, weak stakeholder engagement, misunderstanding of cultural, sex/gender-based, geographical and/or socioeconomic barriers to implementation, changing political and institutional priorities, lack of funding, poor incorporation of individual genomic, biochemical and clinical factors that personalize health, lack of interdisciplinary communication and coordination of efforts, and missed opportunities to leverage cost-benefit analyses related to interventions and policy change. 
  • The LAH mission is to overcome these translation barriers by leading and accelerating the creation and translation of knowledge into world-class prevention of, and care for, persons living with asthma and COPD

Strategic Plan

The LAH Strategic Plan is based on consultations with health system leaders, patient groups, researchers and clinicians. The plan is intended to guide our efforts for the period 2019-2022 and describes the goals, objectives and activities planned in order to help achieve the LAH vision and mission and to enable its success through additional funding empowered by the initial financial support for LAH.

During the term of this plan, the aim is to lay the foundation and build capacity for LAH to be a centre of excellence for research and translation promoting improved practice, behaviour, personalization and policy change for the prevention and care of asthma and COPD. Consultations will continue with the broader airway health community and stakeholders, including patient partners, to identify specific translation opportunities and to identify new research and implementation needs. 

The goals of LAH are centered around the needs of patients and communities at risk and focus on:

  1. prevention
  2. improve the care of people living with COPD and asthma
  3. enabling partnerships, leaderships and capacity,  and
  4. ensuring financial sustainability



Dr. Phalgun Joshi, Director of Operations
Email: phalgun.joshi@vch.ca
Website: legacyairwayhealth.ca