Annual Reports

LUNG HEALTH VICTORIES – BUILDING A HEALTHIER FUTURE TOGETHER | JULY 2023 – JUNE 2024

With your help, we’re building a future free of lung disease. A world without asthma, COPD, COVID-19 or lung cancer. A world with clean air, where everyone breathes easier. None of these successes would be possible without our donors, advocates, and event participants. To learn more about the educational programs, research, and policy work your contributions support visit RespHealth.org.

Here are just a few ways we made a difference:

Asthma

  • RESCUE Illinois Schools Project Protects Students with Asthma
    • In 2023, with State of Illinois funding, RHA and partners established the RESCUE Illinois Schools program to provide schools with the medication and training to use in asthma emergencies. In its first five months, 80% of Illinois schools were provided with medication and resources, 2,100 school nurses and staff received training, and more than $400,000 was saved on healthcare costs due to avoided emergency room visits.
  • Asthma Caregiver’s Handbook
    • The Asthma Caregiver’s Handbook is a compendium of resources for parents, guardians, and other caregivers of children with asthma. Respiratory Health Association will be making the Asthma Caregiver’s Handbooks available at no cost to healthcare professionals. It is our hope they will provide copies to families living with asthma. To date, 6,000 copies of the handbook have been pre-ordered.

Environmental

  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Tightens Air Quality Standard
    • Fine particle air pollution in the U.S. contributes to increased asthma attacks, emergency room visits, respiratory hospitalizations, and even premature deaths. In February 2024, after a decade-long fight by RHA and other advocates, U.S. EPA tightened the fine particle health standard for air pollution, cutting the amount of soot allowable in the air by 25%. It is estimated that 4,500 premature deaths each year could be avoided with this new standard.
  • Illinois Climate and Equitable Jobs Act (CEJA) Updates and New Electric Vehicle (EV) Legislation
    • Since its inception in July 2022, the Illinois consumer EV rebate program, established as part of CEJA, has awarded roughly $32 million to purchasers of electric vehicles. In June 2023, RHA helped pass the electric vehicle “Right to Charge” law in Illinois, permitting building residents to install electric vehicle chargers. The law also requires every new home built in Illinois to have EV-capable parking.

Research

  • Solovy Award
    • The 2024 Solovy Award for Advancement in COPD was awarded to Dr. Russell Buhr from UCLA. Dr. Buhr has collaborated on numerous studies that address gaps in care for veterans living with COPD. His work focuses on the biology of COPD, particularly in early disease with the goal of finding better targets for treatment.
  • Lung Cancer Research Grant
    • RHA awarded Dr. Jing Liu from the University of Illinois Chicago a $100,000 grant to support the development of new lung adenocarcinoma (LUAD) therapies. Dr. Liu’s research involves blocking a gene regulator called Miz-1 in order to slow tumor growth and enhance immune cell infiltration. Since 2012, RHA has funded over $1.7 million in lung cancer research projects at U.S. medical institutions.

COPD

  • COPD Caregiver’s Toolkit
    • COPD affects families—not just patients. To address an unmet need, RHA developed the COPD Caregiver’s Toolkit, a comprehensive resource designed based on caregiver, patient, and health care provider input. Thanks to our partnership with the Learn More Breath Better® program of the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, the COPD Caregiver’s Toolkit is available digitally on the NIH website. The digital toolkit has been seen over 21,000 times since the website’s launch in 2022

Tobacco Control

  • Preventing Youth Vaping
    • Vaping is an epidemic affecting U.S. youth. In 2023, we worked closely with Illinois State Senator Julie Morrison on legislation that seeks to combat this trend. Her amendment to the Preventing Youth Vaping Act restricts advertising and distribution/manufacturing of e-cigarettes that resemble items that are not tobacco products – such as highlighters, markers, etc.
  • Juul Settlement
    • In April 2023, Illinois was awarded $67.6M in a lawsuit settlement with Juul due to their efforts to market and sell to youth. The settlement money was earmarked toward treatment and awareness, according to the Illinois Attorney General’s office. RHA is collaborating with stakeholders to ensure funds go toward programs to prevent youth vaping and tobacco cessation initiatives.

Respiratory Viruses

  • Fall Vaccine Campaign
    • Prevention is still the first line of defense against many respiratory illnesses. In Fall 2023, RHA convened a webinar of local and state health experts advising the public on how to protect themselves from COVID-19, influenza, and RSV. This message was amplified by a social media campaign featuring Vaccine Man, who reminded people to protect themselves by getting vaccinated before winter arrived.

ANNUAL REPORTS

Transparency with you, our donors, our funders and the community at large is important to Respiratory Health Association. When you invest in our work, RHA honors that commitment with careful management and utilization of resources. In addition to reviewing our annual reports and financial information, see our healthy lungs, clean air, advocacy and research pages to learn how the support RHA receives has impacted those living with respiratory disease and protected future generations.

FY23: July 1, 2022 – June 30, 2023

FY22: July 1, 2021 – June 30, 2022

FY21: July 1, 2020 – June 30, 2021

Visit our GuideStar page to learn more or contact Joel Africk, President and Chief Executive Officer, via email at jafrick@resphealth.org or by phone at (312) 628-0220 with additional questions.