2018 has been a big year for social change, and some of that change is happening right in our own back yard, thanks to your generous support.
This year, Respiratory Health Association has reached great heights in our lung disease research, education, and policy change efforts.
We’re grateful that we get to work with community partners and dedicated supporters to further our goals of clean air and healthy lungs for all.
Here are a few examples of what we’ve accomplished together in 2018.
Education: Helping children living with asthma
In Illinois, more than 330,000 children have asthma, but less than 25 percent of those children have their asthma under proper control.
Currently African American children account for two out of every three emergency room visits for childhood asthma. Our goal: bridge gaps between the research and practice healthy communities to better serve children with asthma.
To address disparities in pediatric asthma emergency room visits in Chicago, RHA convened the Chicago Children’s Asthma Summit in May 2018.
Representatives from University of Chicago Medicine, Northwestern Medicine, Chicago Department of Public Health, and Lurie Children’s Hospital discussed local research, program opportunities, and how to further bridge the gap between research and practice.
In addition, our ongoing asthma programs like Fight Asthma Now have educated more than 14,000 students and 30,000 adult caregivers since the programs started. Education on proper medication use, trigger avoidance, and symptom recognition is a proven method to help people manage their asthma and lead happier, healthier lives.
Research: Testing the COPD Caregiver’s Toolkit
COPD caregivers are often underprepared for the range of roles and tasks required when tending to a family member or friend with COPD.
To help empower caregivers, Respiratory Health Association (RHA) developed The COPD Caregiver’s Toolkit, a comprehensive resource designed based on caregiver, patient and health care provider input.
This year, RHA received funding from a subcontract with NHLBI’s Learn More Breathe Better COPD Program. We used that money to distribute the toolkit to hundreds of caregivers across the Midwest and conduct detailed focus groups and surveys to assess the usefulness and impact of the tool.
This work brings us one step closer to finalizing the Toolkit for wider distribution.
Policy change: Passing stock asthma rescue medication legislation
Prior to the passage of SB3015, legislation that allows schools to keep a stock asthma rescue medication for asthma emergencies, Illinois reported 300,000 asthma-related missed school days per year.
RHA led efforts to introduce and encourage the passage of this statewide law which protects students with asthma.
Based on the work of our advocates and partners, Illinois schools are now better prepared to address asthma emergencies and create a safer environment for all.
“Illinois has made great strides in helping children with asthma attend school without the fear that their schools will be unprepared for an inevitable asthma attack,” said State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria). “SB 3015 will help children even more by allowing asthma medication to be kept at the school, similar to EpiPens.”
Moving forward, RHA plans to assist schools with the implementation of the law, which takes effect January 1, 2019.
These and other lung health victories wouldn’t be possible without our partners, donors, event participants and friends. Your support fuels our pursuit of healthier, more sustainable communities and a future free of lung disease.