Today, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) honors Lynda Mitchell’s dedication and service to people with asthma and allergies. Her last day as Chief Operating Officer of AAFA will be on the first of August. Lynda will be pursuing other opportunities. Kids With Food Allergies (KFA) is a division of AAFA.
“Lynda Mitchell’s groundbreaking formation of KFA in 1998 created a new benchmark in the patient-centered care movement. Her deep dedication and continuing commitment to families and patients, as well as the strength of her leadership, will have a lasting impact on the AAFA organization for years to come,” said Heidi Bayer, AAFA Chairman of the Board of Directors.
Twenty-eight years ago, Lynda’s son was born with multiple food allergies. Reliable patient information was difficult to find, emotional support was non-existent and connecting with families coping with similar medical diagnoses seemed impossible. Always one for action and advocacy, Lynda quickly realized that a new technology, an online listserv, could be used to connect families to each other and to reliable medical information. This listserv was the basis for her non-profit organization KFA, which subsequently launched an award-winning online community with educational resources and empowered parents to become vocal advocates for children with food allergies.
In 2013, KFA merged with AAFA, the largest and the oldest patient organization for people with asthma and allergic diseases. At AAFA, Lynda soon became COO, and in 2017 served as AAFA’s interim Chief Executive Officer.
During her four-year tenure at AAFA, she led key accomplishments, including:
- Guiding the integration of KFA into AAFA
- Strengthening AAFA partnerships with multidisciplinary stakeholder groups
- Bringing the combined organizations to the forefront of patient-centered outcomes research
- Amplifying the voice of patients in research and connecting them with researchers
- Releasing the results of a landmark research study to quantify the prevalence of atopic dermatitis
“Lynda is a pioneer for developing one of the first online patient communities,” said Melanie Carver, Vice President of Community Health and Services. “The KFA community now has more than 53,000 members and 120,000 followers on social media. Her work has saved countless lives. By educating and supporting families, they are better equipped to share decisions in their health and manage their conditions daily.”
“While I know our board and I am disappointed in Lynda’s decision to leave AAFA, it is with extreme gratitude that I thank Lynda Mitchell for her service to the asthma and allergy community,” said President and CEO, Kenneth Mendez. “She helped put our constituents in the forefront of research and programs with the goal of increasing patient-centricity in health care.”