Dr. M. Bradley Drummond Receives 2023 Solovy Award for COPD Research

July 18, 2023 – Chicago, IL – Respiratory Health Association (RHA) is pleased to name M. Bradley Drummond, MD, MHS, the recipient of the 2023 Solovy Award for Advancement in COPD. Dr. Drummond is a distinguished, board-certified pulmonary and critical care physician at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine.

The Solovy Award was established in memory of Mr. Jerold Solovy by his wife, Kathleen Hart Solovy, and funded by the Kathleen Hart Solovy and Jerold S. Solovy Endowment for COPD. This award aims to reduce the burden of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and inspire innovation among lung health researchers.

Upon receiving the Solovy Award, Dr. Drummond will be granted $20,000 to further his COPD research endeavors. This funding will allow him to pursue innovative approaches and breakthroughs that will positively impact the lives of those affected by COPD.

“I have dedicated my career to COPD research as a direct result of my personal experiences caring for patients with COPD. I know what this disease does to people, and these experiences keep me motivated to make discoveries to help those impacted by COPD.” Drummond stated. “This perspective makes the Solovy award, coming from a patient and family impacted by COPD, truly special to me.”

Dr. Drummond is renowned for his expertise in COPD, alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, and smoking cessation. He has dedicated his career to unraveling the mechanisms underlying chronic lung disease development and finding innovative solutions for at-risk individuals and those already diagnosed with COPD. As a clinical and translational researcher, Dr. Drummond has focused on characterizing the intricate processes involved in the development of chronic lung disease in high-risk populations. With expertise in epidemiology and clinical trials design, he has shed light on patterns and risk factors for lung function progression in smokers and individuals living with HIV. He also characterizes the longitudinal impact of smoking, HIV infection and tobacco dependence on long-term outcomes related to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

“Millions of individuals and their families around the world battle COPD every day,” Drummond stated. “It is their courage and resilience in the face of this insidious disease that fuels my determination to find better treatments, improve patient care, and ultimately discover a cure.”

Dr. Drummond’s projects include a groundbreaking study supported by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), investigating the role of nasal mucosal immunity and microbiome in controlling COPD progression. He is also actively involved in the Subpopulations and intermediate outcome measures in COPD study (SPIROMICS). In his role as the director of the UNC Obstructive Lung Diseases Clinical and Translational Research Center, Dr. Drummond oversees several clinical research studies, collaborating with NIH and industry sponsors. His leadership and expertise have propelled advancements in COPD research, paving the way for improved treatments and patient care.

“We are excited to recognize Dr. Drummond for his work on behalf of COPD patients and look forward to following his research efforts,” said Joel Africk, RHA’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “COPD has claimed too many of our family members, friends, and colleagues. We are reminded that funding for COPD research is much less than other common chronic diseases.”

Each year Respiratory Health Association awards early-stage research grants to promising projects covering lung diseases such as lung cancer, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Learn more about RHA’s research program and funding opportunities at RespHealth.org/Research.

###

About Respiratory Health Association

RHA has been a local public health leader in Chicago since 1906. RHA works to prevent lung disease, promote clean air, and help people live better through education, research, and policy change. To learn more, visit www.resphealth.org.

About the University of North Carolina Department of Medicine

The UNC Department of Medicine represents 12 medicine subspecialties. We train physicians for meaningful and impactful careers, pursue discoveries that advance science, and aim to provide expert, compassionate care to everyone we serve. Our innovative training curriculum prepares physicians to thrive in the ever-changing health care environment. Our research helps shape how we understand and treat disease. And our clinicians collaborate across specialties to provide truly outstanding clinical care.

RHA Hosts 27th Annual CowaLUNGa™ Charity Bike Tour to Fight Lung Disease

July 14, 2023 – Chicago, IL – Hundreds of riders will participate in the 27th annual CowaLUNGa Charity Bike Tour taking place July 29-31, 2023, while raising funds for Respiratory Health Association.

CowaLUNGa Charity Bike Tour starts at Gurnee Mills Mall in Gurnee, IL and offers a one-day ride (18 or 65 miles), a two-day ride (130 miles) or a three-day ride (190 miles) pedaling over rolling hills through northern Illinois into southern Wisconsin. Riders who can’t start on Saturday, July 29, can join the ride on Sunday, July 30 in William’s Bay, WI for a one-day Century Ride. Other stops include Whitewater, WI, before ending on Day Three at Hubertus, WI.

“So many of us have loved ones living with lung disease,” said Joel Africk, President and CEO of Respiratory Health Association. “This event is a great way to make a difference in fighting one of the leading causes of death in the U.S.”

Many riders this year indicated they have been affected by lung disease or lung health concerns such as asthma, lung cancer, pulmonary fibrosis, smoking, COPD, or cystic fibrosis.

Along the way, riders experience an unparalleled level of camaraderie and support from other cyclists and Respiratory Health Association, while helping RHA achieve its vision of healthy lungs and clean air for all.

To sign up, please visit RespHealth.org/Cow.

###

About Respiratory Health Association
RHA has been a local public health leader in Chicago since 1906. RHA works to prevent lung disease, promote clean air, and help people live better through education, research, and policy change.

Illinois General Assembly Adds E-Cigs to Smoke Free Illinois Act

May 15, 2023 – Chicago, IL – We congratulate the Illinois General Assembly on the passage of HB1540, which will now include electronic cigarettes in the Smoke-Free Illinois Act. This action shows the state’s commitment to safeguarding the well-being of its residents by reducing the potential harm associated with electronic cigarettes. This law will create a healthier and safer environment for all Illinois residents.

Under the new law, smoking e-cigarettes will be prohibited in all public places, including indoor workplaces, restaurants, bars, and public transportation. By adopting this amendment, Illinois joins a growing number of states that recognize the need to regulate e-cigarettes in the same manner as traditional tobacco products. Previously, the City of Chicago, and a handful of other communities in Illinois, had adopted similar amendments to their smoke-free laws.

This law will have a particularly positive health effect on youth and vulnerable populations, who tend to use e-cigarettes in greater numbers than the general population.

“We would like to thank the legislators and thousands of advocates who worked to make sure this law would pass,” said RHA President and CEO Joel Africk. “For more than three decades, RHA has continued to promote policies that protect kids from smoking, reduce secondhand smoke, and regulate these dangerous products that, if taken as directed, kill you.”

###

Respiratory Health Association has been a local public health leader in Illinois since 1906, focusing on lung health and clean air issues. RHA works to prevent lung disease, promote clean air, and help people live better through education, research, and policy change. As a policy leader, RHA is committed to advancing innovative and meaningful tobacco control policies. We have been one of the state’s leading advocates for federal oversight of tobacco and vaping products, smoke-free laws, Tobacco 21, and other tobacco product policies.

RHA Remains Vigilant as COVID-19 Federal Public Health Emergency Expires

May 10, 2023 – Chicago, IL – Tomorrow marks the end of the federal Public Health Emergency (PHE) for COVID-19, declared under Section 319 of the Public Health Service (PHS) Act.

As the world transitions into this new stage, it is important to recognize the pandemic is not over. We are simply no longer in an emergency phase. However, we can keep the COVID-19 virus in check. We need to remain vigilant as the possibility remains that new variants will emerge and need to be addressed.

“The lessons of the pandemic should not be forgotten,” said Joel Africk, President and CEO of Respiratory Health Association. “Good hand washing, masking in crowds, and social distancing when you have symptoms remain important preventive measures to stop the spread of viruses.”

Even in a non-emergency phase, the U.S. is still on pace towards 55,000 COVID-19 deaths this year, which is the equivalent of a severe flu season.

Public health officials remain most concerned about the population of people 65 years of age and older. These individuals, and those who are immunocompromised, should continue to receive their COVID-19 booster vaccinations.

###

Respiratory Health Association has been a local public health leader in Illinois since 1906, focusing on lung health and clean air issues. RHA works to prevent lung disease, promote clean air, and help people live better through education, research, and policy change. As a policy leader, RHA is committed to advancing innovative and meaningful tobacco control policies. We have been one of the state’s leading advocates for federal oversight of tobacco and vaping products, smoke-free laws, Tobacco 21, and other tobacco product policies.

JTV® Launches 2023 Catch Your Breath® Campaign in Partnership with Respiratory Health Association®

April 20, 2023 – KNOXVILLE, Tenn., (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — JTV®, the national jewelry retailer and broadcast network, today is proud to announce the launch of its fifth annual Catch Your Breath® campaign in partnership with Respiratory Health Association® (RHA). Launching on April 21, the campaign aims to support the fight against women’s lung disease through education and donation opportunities. Continuing JTV’s longstanding support of the organization’s mission, this initiative further carries out the company’s philanthropic mission and dedication to giving back.

In this year’s Catch Your Breath campaign, customers will have the chance to support a worthy cause while shopping JTV’s exquisite jewelry pieces. During the campaign, JTV will introduce two beautiful butterfly keychains available for purchase with 50% of the selling price directly benefitting Respiratory Health Association’s research and educational programs.

“We are thrilled to partner with Respiratory Health Association for the fifth annual Catch Your Breath campaign,” said Tim Matthews, CEO of JTV. “We are committed to supporting women, who are disproportionately affected by these ailments, in all aspects of their lives and look forward to continuing our partnership with Respiratory Health Association to raise awareness for this important cause. Together, we can make a real difference for those affected by respiratory illnesses.”

Since 2019, JTV has partnered with Respiratory Health Association for its Catch Your Breath campaign and has raised almost $1 million to-date to support the organization’s noble cause. With the initiative now in its fifth year, JTV is committed to continuing its partnership to make a positive impact on respiratory health.

“We are thrilled to partner with JTV once again for our annual Catch Your Breath campaign,” said Joel Africk, President and CEO at Respiratory Health Association. “We look forward to working together to raise awareness and needed funds to help those impacted by respiratory illnesses. With JTV’s support, we can continue to make great strides in the fight against lung disease and improve the lives of countless individuals and families.”

Those looking to support the cause can tune in to JTV or visit jtv.com/breath to learn more about the risk factors of lung disease and for extra savings on their JTV purchase when making a donation.

To donate, call JTV’s Call Center (800) 619-3000 and choose option 2 or go online at jtv.com/breath or womenslunghealth.org. To learn more about the JTV 2023 Catch Your Breath® campaign and JTV’s product offerings, please visit JTV.com and follow @JTV on Instagram, @jtv on Facebook, @jewelrytv on Pinterest and @jewelry on Twitter.

About JTV
JTV (Jewelry Television®) is a leading retailer of jewelry and gemstones in the United States. With a proven 29-year history, JTV leverages an omni-digital strategy designed to elevate the customer experience through holistic, digitally driven touch points, including live TV programming, 24 hours a day, seven days a week to approximately 95 million U.S. and Canadian households, an industry leading mobile optimized e-commerce platform, and a robust and engaging social media presence. As part of its commitment to customer satisfaction and the development and distribution of educational content, the company employs numerous Graduate Gemologists and Accredited Jewelry Professionals. For more information, visit JTV.com and JTV’s social media channels: FacebookInstagramYouTubeTwitterPinterest and LinkedIn.

About Respiratory Health
A public health leader since 1906, Respiratory Health Association® (RHA) is dedicated to its mission of preventing lung disease, promoting clean air and helping people live better lives through education, research and policy change. To achieve that goal, RHA collaborates with researchers in pursuit of new treatments and cures for disease like asthma, COPD and lung cancer; empowers adults and children by teaching them skills to manage their health; delivers evidence-based tobacco cessation programs; and works with lawmakers to craft innovative policies that build a more equitable and sustainable future. Learn more at resphealth.org.

Respiratory Health Association’s Catch Your Breath® campaign raises awareness and funding for lung health research and programs. Catch Your Breath® advocates increased funding for research to better understand lung disease – including asthma, COPD, lung cancer and pulmonary fibrosis – and improve treatments. The initiative also educates the public and medical professionals about the disproportionate effects of lung disease on women. Learn more and get involved at womenslunghealth.org.

Media Contact
5W Public Relations
JTV@5wpr.com
212-999-5585

RHA Hosts 26th Hustle Chicago® Stair Climb to Support the Local Fight Against Lung Disease

February 26, 2023 – Chicago, IL – Over 1,500 people climbed to the top of an iconic Chicago skyscraper when Respiratory Health Association hosted its 26th Hustle Chicago® stair climb on Sunday, February 26. Climbers took the stairwells up 875 N. Michigan Ave. to raise awareness and funds for local lung health and clean air programs.

“Since the event began in 1998, nearly 70,000 climbers have helped raise over $19 million for Respiratory Health Association,” said Joel Africk, President & CEO. “These funds support our mission to prevent lung disease, promote clean air and help people live better through education, research and policy change.”

Every year, Hustle Chicago climbers ascend 1,632 steps and 94 floors. The 2023 event includes climbers from 26 states ranging from 6 to 81 years old. The average climb time for the Full Climb of 94 floors is 26 minutes.

Nearly 650 climbers this year indicated they have been affected by lung disease or lung health concerns such as asthma, lung cancer, pulmonary fibrosis, smoking, COPD, or cystic fibrosis.

“Every year we celebrate the incredible climbers not only for their accomplishment making it to the top, but also the impact they have on those living with lung disease,” commented Africk. “Their participation and fundraising support the fight against asthma, COVID-19, COPD, lung cancer and other lung diseases.”

The climb finishes at the 360Chicago Observation Deck, featuring panoramic views of the city and its historic lakefront. The Hearn Company owns and operates the 875 N. Michigan Ave. building.

###

Respiratory Health Association (RHA) has been a local public health leader in Chicago since 1906. RHA works to prevent lung disease, promote clean air, and help people live better through education, research and policy change. To learn more, visit www.resphealth.org.

Smoke Free Illinois 15 Years Later – More Change is Needed

February 8, 2023 – Chicago, IL – January 2023 marks 15 years since the Smoke Free Illinois Act went into effect, banning smoking in public spaces across the state. This law has saved an estimated 37,000 lives in Illinois, helped reduce heart attacks and other health problems, and saved millions of dollars in healthcare costs. And the law has helped place Illinois on the path to a generation of children who have grown up in a smoke-free world.

“How often in our lives do we have an opportunity to save a life—let alone thousands of lives?” commented Joel Africk, President and Chief Executive Officer of Respiratory Health Association (RHA), which advocated for the passage of Smoke Free Illinois. “That’s why we continue this fight to keep tobacco out of the hands of our children and reduce exposure to secondhand smoke.” Currently, RHA is working to add e-cigarettes to the Smoke Free Illinois Act and to restrict the sales of flavored tobacco products that are marketed to youth.

Tobacco advocates highlight the need for public health funding to support their efforts. Illinois currently ranks 39th in the US in funding for tobacco prevention and cessation programs. Only 7.4% of the $220 million Illinois receives annually in Master Tobacco Settlement Agreement is being used to support tobacco control programs.

The need is greater than ever to strengthen vaping restrictions and increase programming to protect our youth from the dangers of vaping and e-cigarettes.

# # #

Respiratory Health Association has been a public health leader in Illinois since 1906, focusing on lung health and clean air issues. RHA works to prevent lung disease, promote clean air, and help people live better through education, research, and policy change. As a policy leader, RHA is committed to advancing innovative and meaningful tobacco control policies. We have been one of the state’s leading advocates for federal oversight of tobacco and vaping products, smoke-free laws, Tobacco 21, and other tobacco product policies.

RHA Statement on U.S. EPA Proposed Fine Particle Health Standard

Sign our letter to tell the U.S. EPA to set a stronger fine particle standard!

January 27, 2023 – Chicago, IL – On January 6th, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced it was proposing changes to the federal health standard for fine particulate matter less than 2.5 microns (PM2.5), one of the most widespread and deadly pollutants in the United States. Despite our hope that an objective view of the collected scientific record would result in a proposed standard truly protective of public health, particularly for the most vulnerable people and communities, Respiratory Health Association was disappointed by the content of EPA’s announcement.

It is abundantly clear that the EPA-favored proposal would simply leave too much deadly soot in the air people breathe. While the scope of the new proposal is an improvement over the current standard, it favors setting a health standard that is too lax by leaning away from limiting pollution to levels that would save nearly 20,000 lives additional lives a year.

Based on the collected scientific knowledge and independent expert opinion, Respiratory Health Association believes this air quality health standard must be tightened to the greatest extent possible under consideration, specifically 8 micrograms/m3 on an annual basis and 25 micrograms/m3 on a 24-hour basis.

This issue is literally one of life and death. Breathing fine particulate matter in the air is literally a death sentence for thousands of Americans every year. Legally allowing this pollution to remain at levels that will continue to add to this tragedy would be not only irresponsible of EPA but patently unjust for the low-income and minority communities now seeing both the highest levels of pollution and the consequent disproportionate health and life impacts.

Americans deserve clean air and that right should not be constrained by the wishes of polluters to continue to emit harmful material into the air. EPA Administrator Regan will make the final call on what EPA’s new health standard will be for deadly fine particulate matter this year. We strongly encourage him to set the tightest standard possible to protect the health of all Americans and prevent the greatest number of premature deaths, particularly for those living with and at risk of developing lung disease.

#  #  #

Respiratory Health Association has been a local public health leader in Illinois since 1906, focusing on lung health and clean air issues. RHA works to prevent lung disease, promote clean air, and help people live better through education, research, and policy change. As a policy leader, RHA is committed to advancing innovative and meaningful tobacco control policies. We have been one of the state’s leading advocates for federal oversight of tobacco and vaping products, smoke-free laws, Tobacco 21, and other tobacco product policies.

Chicago City Council Ordinance Will Strengthen Restrictions on Youth Vaping

January 23, 2023 – Chicago, IL – On January 18th, 2023, the Chicago City Council amended the Tobacco Retail License Ordinance, putting in place new restrictions and licensing requirements for vape shops. Specifically, new Chicago businesses that receive more than 20 percent of their gross revenue from the sale, in any combination, of electronic cigarettes, liquid nicotine products, or electronic cigarette accessories will now be required to obtain a special city license. The ordinance also prevents new licenses for tobacco retail businesses within 1,000 feet of any existing retail tobacco store.

“Respiratory Health Association applauds the City of Chicago’s decision to strengthen regulation of these harmful tobacco products,” commented Joel Africk, RHA’s President & Chief Executive Officer. “We continue to fight to reduce the burden of tobacco-related lung illnesses in our communities and to restrict youth access to vaping products.”

Years of strong city and state policies have reduced cigarette use among Chicago high school students by nearly 82% in the past five years. But this success is threatened by a concurrent 56% increase in vaping. Tobacco control programs must also deal with very limited support from the State. Illinois ranks 39th in funding for tobacco prevention and cessation programs, with only 7.4% of its annual $220 million in Master Tobacco Settlement Agreement funds going toward these programs.

The need is greater than ever to strengthen vaping restrictions and increase programming to protect our youth from the dangers of vaping and e-cigarettes.

#  #  #

Respiratory Health Association has been a local public health leader in Illinois since 1906, focusing on lung health and clean air issues. RHA works to prevent lung disease, promote clean air, and help people live better through education, research, and policy change. As a policy leader, RHA is committed to advancing innovative and meaningful tobacco control policies. We have been one of the state’s leading advocates for federal oversight of tobacco and vaping products, smoke-free laws, Tobacco 21, and other tobacco product policies.

Respiratory Health Association Statement on West Virginia v. EPA Decision

The Supreme Court’s decision in West Virginia v. EPA is disappointing and poses an immediate environmental and health threat to communities across the country.

By undermining the authority of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to regulate harmful greenhouse gas emissions from power plants, the Court has stifled a regulatory process that had worked for decades to reduce air pollution, curb climate change, and protect people’s health. This ruling particularly hurts people living with lung disease and communities that have long-faced disproportionate amounts of air pollution. Going forward, people in communities like these will bear the brunt of major polluters nearby – breathing dirty air that increases their risk for lung disease. These communities already suffer disproportionately high rates of asthma, COPD, and heart disease, and this ruling will only widen these disparities.

Respiratory Health Association (RHA) will continue to work with states such as Illinois – which passed the historic Climate and Equitable Jobs Act in 2021 – to implement clean renewable energy policies and look to leaders like Gov. Pritzker to address diesel vehicle pollution. Ensuring Illinois joins other leading states by adopting the Advanced Clean Truck (ACT) Rule and Heavy-Duty Omnibus (HDO) rules will dramatically reduce deadly threats from diesel tailpipe exhaust.

Respiratory Health Association remains committed to advocating clean air and lung health on behalf of people everywhere, and will continue to fight for a future where everyone can breathe clean air.