/ Press Release / Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America Announces New Board Chair and Board Members

Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America Announces New Board Chair and Board Members

Mar 30, 2023 | Press Release

Ritesh Patel to chair national non-profit focused on improving quality of life for people with asthma and allergies

Washington, D. C., March 30, 2023 – The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) is pleased to announce the appointment of a new board chair and new board members, joining our current board in providing leadership and oversight to AAFA. AAFA’s board of directors help fulfill AAFA’s mission of saving lives and reducing the burden of disease for people with asthma and allergies through support, advocacy, education, and research.

Ritesh Patel has been elected as AAFA’s new board chair. Patel has served on AAFA’s board of directors since 2016. Patel, senior partner of Global Digital Health at FINN Partners, has worked in the health care and life sciences industries since 2009. Prior to his work in health care, Ritesh worked in several different industries as a digital evangelist, including travel, hotels, financial services, retail, and commercial real estate.

“I am honored to serve as the chair of the board for AAFA and support the organization’s mission to improve the lives of individuals living with asthma and allergies,” said Patel. “I look forward to working closely with our talented board members and staff to promote education, advocacy, and research initiatives that help those living with these conditions.”

The board will be carrying forward AAFA’s 2022-2025 strategic plan, which includes initiatives on health equity, community-based interventions, growing and supporting its patient communities, climate and environment, expanding public health support, and improving health literacy and access to health care.

“Our strategic plan is bold and aggressive. AAFA’s board is focused on action, and we are thrilled to have new board members who will help us take AAFA to the next level,” said Kenneth Mendez, president and CEO of AAFA. “The release of our Allergy CapitalsTM report this month shows the need for urgency. Allergies are getting worse for Americans because climate change is causing longer and more intense allergy seasons. We are grateful to have a devoted leader like Ritesh Patel who will amplify our work.”

Recently elected board members helping AAFA continue its critical work include:

  • Folashade Farri, MD, a pediatric pulmonologist at the Children’s Hospital of New Jersey with a background in public health. Her career is characterized by a passion for health education, advocacy, and community involvement. Dr. Farri is the chief medical officer at AIRnyc, where her responsibilities include medical oversight, program development, and clinical liaison.
  • James C. Dockery, a business leader, general counsel, and university administrator with more than 30 years of experience. He specializes in labor and employment litigation, with broader expertise in compliance and risk management, diversity and inclusion, and privacy and cybersecurity law. Dockery also has a decorated career of military service and leadership of 23 years.
  • Alex Buzby, a senior enterprise account executive at BigTime Software with a background in sales and marketing. His career has focused on growing key accounts, rebranding efforts, optimizing partnerships, and identifying new business opportunities. Buzby has a passion for growing SaaS businesses selling complex solutions in competitive industries.

AAFA’s bylaws allow for two two-year terms of leadership. Richard K. Murray, MD, FACP, completed his four-year service as chair. AAFA and the board thank Dr. Murray for his leadership and vision during his terms. Dr. Murray led the organization in developing an updated mission and vision with strategic emphasis on addressing health disparities and building AAFA’s community networks.

“I want to thank Dr. Murray for his outstanding leadership during his four years as board chair,” said Mendez. “He helped guide our vision to be recognized as the trusted ally to the asthma and allergy community.”

Newly-elected AAFA board chair Ritesh Patel, AAFA President and CEO Kenneth Mendez, and past AAFA board chair Richard Murray, MD, FACP


Press Contact:
Andy Spears
Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA)

About AAFA

Founded in 1953, AAFA is the oldest and largest non-profit patient organization dedicated to saving lives and reducing the burden of disease for people with asthma, allergies and related conditions through research, education, advocacy and support. AAFA offers extensive support for individuals and families affected by asthma and allergic diseases, such as food allergies and atopic dermatitis (eczema). Through its online patient support communities, network of local chapters and affiliated support groups, AAFA empowers patients and their families by providing practical, evidence-based information and community programs and services. AAFA is the only asthma and allergy patient advocacy group that is certified to meet the standards of excellence set by the National Health Council. For more information, visit: and