RHA lead efforts to prohibit insurance companies from restricting coverage of inhalers based on refill frequency. Based on feedback from the community RHA learned of restrictions some individuals had in accessing their lifesaving medication. RHA then worked with partners to change state law to protect the coverage of inhalers.
The Illinois General Assembly passes Public Act 92 0402 which allows primary and secondary students in Illinois self-administration their asthma medication while in school. Respiratory Health Association and its public health partners had advocated for months for better access to asthma medication in schools. The law came into being after the tragic death of a student whose inhaler was locked in the nurse’s office when they experienced an asthma emergency while in class.
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 program staff from Atlanta, Philadelphia and Washington, and Breathe DC hires RHA to teach asthma educators in Washington D.C. how to deliver Fight Asthma Now© (RHA had previously trained personnel in Los Angeles Unified School District in the program). During 2016, RHA’s smoking cessation and asthma programs reach 5,000+ people.
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 control asthma, reducing hospitalizations and school days missed. The project is credited with significantly reducing asthma emergency room visits among children from Englewood.
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 policy effort and subsequent amendments to extend the law to after-school and park district activities.
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.
Illinois Public Act 099-0843 is signed by Governor Bruce Rauner on August 19, 2016, requiring Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) to develop a model asthma episode emergency response protocol, and for each school district, charter school, and non-public school to adopt a similar protocol, including all the components of the ISBE model protocol, by January 1, 2017. The model protocol and other resources are available on the ISBE website.
Schools are also required to request an asthma action plan from each parent of a student with asthma. If provided, the asthma action plan must be kept on file in the office of the school nurse or, in the absence of a school nurse, the school administrator.
Finally, the law requires school personnel who work with pupils to complete training on the management of asthma, prevention of asthma symptoms, and emergency response in the school setting every two years. RHA’s one-hour Asthma Management program meets this requirement and educates teachers, school staff and other caregivers of children with asthma.
Date: August 19, 2016
On January 26, 2012, Chicago Public School Board of Education approves a new asthma policy, increasing awareness and support of students with asthma. The new policy reduces barriers for students to carry and self-medicate using their quick-relief inhalers. It also requires administrators to ask for information about students with asthma at the beginning of each school year, including asthma action plans; and all staff who interact with children will receive asthma training every two years.
On June 15, 2017, RHA’s asthma program team, including three National Health Corps (NHC) members, set a new record by educating 1,962 students with asthma.
RHA staff fostered relationships with new community partners and as a result increased RHA’s reach to new schools in high need communities.
Fight Asthma Now© is RHA’s free asthma self-management program delivered to youth and teens in school settings. RHA’s asthma educators use engaging and active lesson plans to give youth and teens the tools and knowledge they need to identify and avoid asthma triggers, manage asthma episodes and control asthma on a long-term basis.
RHA staff also provided Asthma Management training to 3,943 school personnel, parents and caregivers, teaching them how to remove triggers from the home, school or childcare center; prevent asthma episodes; help deliver asthma medicines; and handle asthma emergencies.
A federal judge sides with a coalition of environmental and health groups, including Respiratory Health Association, in a lawsuit filed against Peoria’s E.D. Edwards coal plant alleging that the company is “emitting an excessive amount of soot pollution.”