Lancaster Resident Honored with American Lung Association’s Prestigious Professional Service Award     

The American Lung Association recognized Lancaster resident Kevin Stewart, as the recipient of the 2024 Hoyt E. Dearholt Distinguished Professional Service Award at a recent awards ceremony held in Chicago, IL. The national award is the highest honor a staff member can receive from the organization and is presented annually to an employee who has made significant and lasting contributions throughout their Lung Association career.

Stewart currently serves as the National Director of Environmental Health for Advocacy and Public Policy at the American Lung Association and leads efforts on informing the public about air pollution, its health effects, its sources and means of control. In his time with the American Lung Association since joining in 1987, Stewart has grown professionally from his initial service in environmental and occupational health in the former one-county Lung Association affiliate in Lancaster County through posts at different levels to his current national position.

“Throughout his 37-year career with the organization, Kevin’s commitment to our mission of championing healthy lungs and ending lung disease for all has been exemplary. His invaluable contributions to raising awareness about indoor and outdoor air quality have been instrumental in our progress. He is a true asset to the American Lung Association and the communities we serve, making him a most deserving recipient of our highest honor for staff members,” said Deb Brown, Chief Mission Officer, American Lung Association.

Stewart works with many partners, including other public health and environmental organizations as well as federal agencies on policy and regulatory issues on indoor and outdoor air quality for the organization. He is a nationwide voice for healthy air and is perhaps most familiar to Pennsylvanians as the Lung Association’s voice for its signature “State of the Air” report, released every April since 2000. The report draws significant public attention to air pollution, control challenges and successes across the country and serves as an annual national and regional air quality “report card.”

As an advocate for healthy air, he regularly represents the Lung Association with comments and testimony before federal, state, regional and local agencies engaged in public policy on clean indoor and outdoor air and climate change. He has submitted formal comments or testimony on topics such as: more protective National Ambient Air Quality Standards for particulate matter and ozone, updated greenhouse gas emission standards for light-duty vehicles and limiting methane from the oil and gas industry. His expertise and advocacy efforts span a broad range of topics from indoor radon, outdoor wood boilers, anti-idling measures, school indoor air quality in Pennsylvania to national energy policy and improving the public’s right to know about environmental and public health threats.

Stewart joined the Lung Association at the time when radon was first recognized as an environmental hazard in people’s homes—a discovery that was made in Eastern Pennsylvania and that was soon shown to be found in his hometown of Lancaster. He was an early proponent for increasing radon awareness, testing and mitigation in homes and schools and has been instrumental in helping to reduce the public health threat of radioactive radon gas. He has been an integral part of the multi-agency team that developed the U.S. National Radon Action Plan and serves on the Lung Association’s staff team overseeing it.  For decades, he has managed statewide grant-funded programs to reduce indoor radon. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Indoor Environments Association; the AARST Consortium on National Radon Standards’ Executive Stakeholder Committee; and Standing Committees for Radon Measurement and New Construction.