In this section, we identify some of key milestones in Respiratory Health Association’s 100+ year history. For a more detailed description of our history, please visit Our History.

Cool Timeline

Chicago Tuberculosis Institute is Formed

Respiratory Health Association is formed under the name Chicago Tuberculosis Institute, a reflection of the serious health TB posed to densely populated urban populations such as Chicago. The organization’s mission is described as “the prevention and treatment of consumption and other forms of tuberculosis.” The Institute is credited with the…
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TB Cure Breakthrough

Medical advances in tuberculosis research produce the first effective drug treatments for the disease. Respiratory Health Association, then known as TB Institute of Chicago and Cook County, continues to assist in the detection and fight against TB, and offers more than 1 million chest x-rays to detect TB. RHA eventually…
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U.S. Surgeon General Issues Historic Report on Smoking

U.S. Surgeon General issues his historic report on smoking and health and concludes, among other findings, that cigarette smoking is responsible for a 70 percent increase in the mortality rate of smokers over non-smokers. RHA reiterates its commitment to promote policies to discourage smoking, to help people who want to…
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RHA Begins “Special Event” Fundraising

RHA begins using “special event” fundraising (running races, etc.) to generate support for its mission. Special events raise $9,204 in 1976. In the ensuing years, special events such as Hustle Chicago and CowaLUNGa Charity Bike Ride raise in excess of $1.5 million per year to support local efforts to promote…
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RHA Formalizes Commitment to Legislative Advocacy

RHA formalizes its organizational commitment to play an active role in legislative advocacy as a means of achieving the prevention and control of lung disease. Eventually RHA would play a significant role in many legislative advocacy efforts, including protection of federal and state clean air legislation and the passage of…
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RHA creates Camp Action

RHA creates Camp Action, a weeklong summer camp for children with asthma, designed to help children enjoy outdoor activities and learn asthma management. Camp Action uses physicians, nurses and RHA staff to deliver asthma education and respond to asthma emergencies.

Chicago City Council Adopts Early Smoking Ordinance

Chicago City Council adopts an ordinance requiring separate smoking and non-smoking areas in restaurants. Respiratory Health Association staff and advocates urged passage of the ordinance as a first step toward removing secondhand smoke from restaurants and other workplaces.

RHA Co-Creates Asbestos Management Program

Respiratory Health Association and Midwest Asbestos Information Center (of University of Illinois) create a program to train thousands of laborers in Chicago in the proper handling and management of asbestos found in Chicago office buildings. Training is designed to prepare Chicago contractors to meet the need to remove and encapsulate…
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RHA Develops Annual Flu Shot Program

Respiratory Health Association responds to citywide need for flu shot immunizations in underserved communities and schools by developing an annual flu shot program. Locations include community sites, schools, residential buildings and large employers. RHA also educates community members on the importance of flu shots, especially for people living with lung…
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RHA Launches Hustle Chicago

RHA launches Hustle Chicago, a fundraising event in which participants solicit pledges and climb the 1,632 steps of Chicago’s John Hancock Center. Since its inception, the event has raised $16+ million to support RHA’s mission.

Illinois Adopts New Asthma “Right to Carry” Law

Illinois adopts legislation permitting schoolchildren with asthma to carry their quick relief asthma medication while at school, provided they have physician and parent approval. The legislation follows several asthma emergencies in which asthma medications were kept locked away in school and were unavailable when needed. Respiratory Health Association co-led the…
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CDC awards RHA 10-Year Contract to Coordinate Tuberculosis Research

Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) announces the formation of the Tuberculosis Epidemiological Studies Consortium (“TBESC”), a national collaboration of tuberculosis researchers that includes the leading TB experts in the country. CDC names Metropolitan Chicago Tuberculosis Consortium, convened by RHA, as one of 21 sites in the U.S.…
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RHA Receives $2 Million Grant to Address Pediatric Asthma in Englewood

Merck Childhood Asthma Network awards Respiratory Health Association, in collaboration with University of Illinois School of Public Health, a four-year $2 million grant to address pediatric asthma in Chicago’s Englewood community. The project aims to teach parents and caregivers of children with asthma in Englewood how to better understand and…
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Chicago City Council Enacts Smoke-Free Chicago Ordinance

Chicago City Council enacts Smoke-Free Chicago ordinance, prohibiting smoking in all workplaces throughout Chicago, including offices, restaurants and bars. The smoke-free ordinance is considered one of the most important local public health measures in decades. Once enacted, the Smoke-Free Chicago Ordinance (and similar ordinances adopted by surrounding Chicago suburbs) propels…
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First Annual Living Better Together COPD Conference

Respiratory Health Association hosts its first annual Living Better Together COPD Conference for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (“COPD”) patients and their caregivers. The educational conference shares with patients a variety of resources and tips for managing their COPD. Living Better Together is the largest such COPD patient gathering in the…
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RHA Reaffirms Commitment to Lung Cancer Research

In recognition that lung cancer continues to be the leading cancer killer of men and women, Respiratory Health Association reaffirms its commitment to local lung cancer research by making a $160,000 lung cancer research award to researchers at the University of Chicago. In the ensuing years, lung cancer research grants…
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Illinois Leads in Adopting State COPD Plan

Illinois becomes the first state to adopt a State COPD Plan developed through a statewide coalition. The aim of the Plan is to reduce COPD-related morbidity and mortality and improve the quality of life of people in Illinois living with COPD. RHA served as convener of the coalition and amassed…
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RHA Reaffirms Its Focus on Local Programs and Governance

RHA ends its long affiliation with a national lung health non-profit organization, deciding to maintain its local board of directors and governance structure and its focus on meeting the lung health needs of local communities in Illinois and the Midwest. RHA board votes unanimously to rename itself Respiratory Health Association…
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Healthy Lungs Initiative Launched

Respiratory Health Association and Cook County Health and Hospital Systems launch Healthy Lungs Initiative, a multi-year $6 million program to improve lung health among Cook County residents by increasing quit smoking rates and improving self-management skills for people with asthma or COPD. In the ensuing eight years, RHA’s trained staff…
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RHA Helps Contain Bird Flu Outbreak

In response to the nation’s H1N1 bird flu outbreak, Chicago Department of Public Health enlists Respiratory Health Association to administer bird flu immunizations at one of the citywide sites the City established. RHA administers 3,061 bird flu immunizations to help contain the bird flu outbreak.

CDC Awards RHA $11.5 Million to Reduce Chicago’s Smoking Rate and Increase Smoke-Free Environments

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) awards Respiratory Health Association $11.5 million to a lead a citywide effort to reduce smoking in Chicago and increase smoke-free environments (such as parks, etc.). The Chicago Tobacco Prevention Partnership partners with 30+ organizations to address the needs of Chicago’s many vulnerable populations…
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Courage to Quit and Fight Asthma Now Programs Expand Reach

Respiratory Health Association trains health educators outside Chicago in its two signature programs, Courage to Quit®, an evidence-based program to help people (particularly members of populations vulnerable to tobacco) quit smoking, and Fight Asthma Now©, RHA’s asthma self-management course for school-aged children. National Urban League® hires RHA to train tobacco…
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Respiratory Health Association 2013 –
Respiratory Health Association of Metropolitan Chicago 2007-2013
American Lung Association of Metropolitan Chicago 1993-2007
Chicago Lung Association 1972-1993
Tuberculosis Institute of Chicago and Cook County 1937-1972
Chicago Tuberculosis Institute 1906-1937