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Conversations with the Inspiring Dr. Kori Ascher

Today we’d like to introduce you to Dr. Kori Ascher.

Dr. Ascher, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I am originally from upstate New York where I completed undergraduate and graduate school at SUNY Binghamton University. Afterwards, I moved to Florida for medical school at Nova Southeastern University. Quickly falling in love with the sun and palm trees, I stayed in the South Florida area for my medical training. My internal medicine residency was at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach and I am currently in my senior year of Pulmonary & Critical Care Fellowship at Jackson Memorial Hospital/University of Miami Hospital. Once I graduate June 2019, I plan to further specialize in Sleep Medicine at University of Miami Hospital.

During my fellowship, I met and cared for many patients with rare, incurable, progressive chronic lung diseases. As physicians, we do our best to ensure our patients have access to the most cutting-edge treatments available. Unfortunately, a lot of these treatments are very expensive, difficult to get approval for, and/or difficult to tolerate due to side effects. There are always those patients & families that touch your heart and I carry their stories with me. I knew I wanted to do something to go beyond the traditional physician-patient relationship to help the person with the disease in addition to the disease.

Just Breathe Miami is a non-profit organization I created in support of chronic lung diseases. It has absolutely exceeded my goals and expectations from my original idea of just raising awareness. So far, the organization has received so much support from the local community including: Y-100 Radio, 103.5 The Beat Radio, The Salty Donut, Crossfit 305, Priva Medis, E11even, the Miami Zoo, Kendra Scott, American Social Brickell, Blue Martini Brickell, The Flying Lizard Boutique, and Top Golf Doral. Just Breathe Miami was even featured on a 30-minute interview on Here’s Help Radio show airing on both Y-100 and 103.5 The Beat radio stations. Just Breathe Miami has also been recognized by the international medical societies for lung diseases The American Thoracic Society and The American College of Chest Physicians.

The organization has been extremely successful in creating a network community for those people living with chronic lung diseases including: patient, family, friends, physician, caretakers, etc. There is a strong social media following with 2500+ following @justbreathemiami on Instagram. Every Tuesday, we have a campaign “O2 Tuesday” which features someone wearing their oxygen therapy proudly. This campaign has been extremely successful with comments from people that they never felt comfortable or beautiful wearing their oxygen but the campaign helps them feel pretty despite their lung condition. It has really been a soul touching experience for me to create this type of platform and community for those patients I care for daily.

Another aspect of Just Breathe Miami is its annual fundraising event. Last year’s inaugural event “Just Breathe for Pulmonary Fibrosis” hosted in partnership with the nationwide Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation raised almost $10,000 (crushing our goal of $5,000). We had over 120 individual donors and over 12 local business donators. This year, June 28, 2019, will be the second annual fundraiser “Just Breathe for Pulmonary Hypertension” hosted in partnership with the nationwide charity Pulmonary Hypertension Association.

There has been an overwhelmingly incredible response from the medical community both health care providers and patients in support of Just Breathe Miami.

To find out more information about the event, how to donate or general information about Just Breathe Miami please visit or email

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Whenever starting a new project or novel ideas, there will undoubtedly be obstacles to overcome. I remember when I first had the idea for this organization and fundraiser October 2017, I was told I was ‘dreaming too big’ and I was being ‘impractical’. Respectfully disagreeing with those opinions, I put my head down and spent a considerable amount of my free time (which as a pulmonary critical care fellow is not much time!) into creating this organization. I invested my time and effort into myself and this project. I would like to say I had a staff or committee of people assisting, but it was just me. I sent out hundreds of emails myself explaining to companies what Just Breathe Miami was to get the word out there and also ask for donations. Over the last year or so that I have built up Just Breathe Miami, I have established many relationships with people with chronic lung disease all over the world. Just Breathe Miami is a growing community in full support of anyone impacted by lung disease. It is the realization of my once ‘impractical’ and ‘dreaming too big’ ideas.

My advice would be that if you truly believe in something, don’t let anyone deter your passion. Put your head down and do whatever it takes to get your idea out there! Think outside the box and swerve out of your lane a little. 😉

What should we know about Just Breathe Miami? What do you do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
I am a physician specializing in Internal Medicine and Pulmonary & Critical Care Medicine. This means I specialize in lung diseases and the critically ill patients in the intensive care unit (ICU). I see patients both outpatients in the office and in the hospital as well. I also perform several different procedures on my own. Next year in 2019, I will be studying to special in Sleep Medicine in addition to the specialties I already practice.

That is a lot of medical talks. I don’t want to bore anyone here so feel free to contact me if you have further questions about my specialties or what I do!

It would be great to hear about any apps, books, podcasts or other resources that you’ve used and would recommend to others.
Oh, this is a tough question. I use a lot of old school medical reference books and publications from well-established journals. One of the very best resources though is my colleagues. There are no two patients in the ICU or the pulmonary world that will have the exact same disease course, so experience and insight play a very big role. When we include opinions from other specialties, this is called multidisciplinary. All in all, I’d have to say my colleagues spanning all specialties are usually my best resource.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Just Breathe Miami, Kori Ascher

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