American Sleep Association (ASA) celebrates its 13th anniversary this month. Since its inception, ASA has been a volunteer-based grassroots effort that promotes sleep health and sleep disorder awareness on a local, national, and global level.
Started in 2002 by physicians and sleep technologists in Philadelphia, ASA started with the Sleep Apnea Awareness Week campaign. The initial campaign was run by over 50 sleep medical professional volunteers in over 40 states and 3 countries.
Over the past decade, ASA has expanded to awareness campaigns covering other sleep disorders, including insomnia, restless legs syndrome, and narcolepsy. The awareness campaigns feature extensive media coverage, local professional point contacts, and online forums for patients, family members, and sleep professionals to discuss topics relating to the disorders.
The ASA website reaches millions of visitors annually and features information on sleep and sleep disorders, as well as product ratings and reviews from customers. Increasing access to treatment options, including CPAP, sleep apnea oral appliances, snoring dental devices, and insomnia treatment options was a priority in recent years. This year, ASA partnered with CenterWatch and MyApnea to provide access to clinical trials and research opportunities in the sleep field.
Steven Lin, a representative of ASA, discussed future plans and directions for the organization, in a release. “Adding a sleep dentist and sleep physician network in 2015/2016 will further expand patients’ access to treatment,” Lin says. The network will offer a web-based platform for patients to connect with clinicians.
Today, ASA has over 5,000 members in over 20 countries. Membership remains free of charge. Primary funding for ASA is from grants, donations, and endorsements.