John W. Walsh is the founder of the COPD Foundation. He was diagnosed with Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency (AATD) in 1989, and upon learning there was no organized effort to promote research and find a cure for the disorder, he decided to dedicate his life’s work to this end.
In 1995 he co-founded AlphaNet, a not-for profit disease management service company, providing comprehensive care exclusively for individuals with AATD. Today, Walsh serves as President of AlphaNet, which provides healthcare services to 3,000 individuals with AATD in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
That same year, Walsh also co-founded the Alpha-1 Foundation, a not-for-profit corporation dedicated to providing the leadership and resources to increase research, improve health, promote worldwide detection, and find a cure for AATD.
In 2004, Walsh formed the COPD Foundation, and has quickly expanded its breadth of education and research programs to include: the Mobile Spirometry Unit, the C.O.P.D. Information Line, the Biomarkers Qualification Consortium, COPDGene™ Study, COPD Patient-Powered Research Network, and the Bronchiectasis Research Registry, and the DRIVE4COPD campaign. The Foundation works to represent the interests of individuals with COPD in legislative issues.
He was awarded the FDA’s highest recognition for his “pioneering collaboration in orphan drug development,” the Commissioner’s Special Citation, received the University of Florida’s Distinguished Achievement Award for “his many years of outstanding and distinguished contributions to humanity, the medical profession, the nation, state, community and the University of Florida,” and was awarded the Health Foundation of South Florida’s 2005 Concern Award along with a monetary grant to the Alpha-1 Foundation.
Mr. Walsh was also awarded the prestigious Claude Pepper Memorial Award for Healthcare for his outstanding achievements and contributions to the healthcare industry, and the 2006 Dr. Charles H. Hudson Award for Cardiopulmonary Public Health by the American Respiratory Care Foundation.
He was the recipient of the American Thoracic Society’s 2008 Public Service Award and received a Presidential Commendation from the Society’s president.
In 2012, Walsh was inducted into the COPD Hall of Fame at the COPD8 Conference in Birmingham, UK.