While working on a project for the WEGO Health community, I came across The American Sleep Apnea Association webpage. I also stumbled (almost literally) upon the blog of Ed Grandi, the Executive Director of the ASAA. Ed has been writing at Sleep Apnea ED since 2005 and he did me the honor of letting him interview him for WEGO Health’s sleep education community.
The biggest hurdle in teaching the public [about sleep apnea is], getting them to take it seriously.
My formal involvement began when I was hired as executive director of the American Sleep Apnea Association (ASAA). Since joining the association I have had the oppprtunity to interact many of the pioneers in the field. In the relatively short time I have worked the field I have learned a great deal mostly from talking with patients and answering their questions
How long have you been the executive director for the American Sleep Apnea Association?
I was hired in May of 2004.. I had worked in the nonprofit sector for DC based charities for four years and decided I wanted to lead an organization.. The ASAA was looking for someone with a background in fundraising so I went for it.
What has been the biggest hurdle in the path of teaching people about sleep apnea?
The biggest hurdle in teaching the public: getting them to take it seriously. More often than not it takes something like the death of an athlete from complications of sleep apnea to get people’s attention. The challenge for many of those in treatment is lack of a consistent continuity of care. For many, they are left to their own devices (so to speak) and it is very easy for them not to pursue treatment.
When you think about the future, what gives you a sense of hope regarding sleep apnea? What concerns or worries you?
I am hopeful that awareness is increasing and people are beginning to understand that there is a reason why they are miserable; not enough quality sleep. I am hopeful that there is evolution happening in the diagnosis and treatment of the condition. [There are also] at-home studies [being done] and treatments other than [the] CPAP machines. My worry is that due to turf wars between the various medical professionals will slow the progress being made and one person dies needlessly.
Learn more about Ed at his WEGO Health page!