Issue #1 of Inspiration Newsletter

In 2004, Respiratory Health Association released the inaugural edition of its Inspiration newsletter. This annual newsletter, edited by a volunteer pulmonologist, is written for people with COPD and their caregivers and contains practical tips for living well, the latest in COPD research, and legislative updates. Today, Inspiration reaches more than 9,000 persons living with COPD and their caregivers. Currently, the newsletter is sent to recipients in 36 states.

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 a broad group of COPD stakeholders to serve on the coalition, including community agencies, health departments, respiratory societies, physical therapy, patients, caregivers, health care providers, and home health care providers.

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 US.

2016 Living Better Together Conference

Respiratory Health Association hosts its 13th Annual Living Better Together COPD conference with 300 attendees, including individuals living with COPD, their caregivers, and pulmonary rehabilitation staff. Participants came together to learn about COPD and strategies for living better together with this chronic illness. Many traveled by bus with their pulmonary rehabilitation groups from locations throughout Chicagoland and as far as Rockford and Peru, Illinois. Guests were provided supplemental oxygen donated by our generous sponsor, Health Care Solutions Group, Inc. Click here to view the 2016 LBT Conference photo album.

The conference began with a Moderated Keynote Session titled “COPD Care… A panel discussion on how to navigate the current healthcare system.” Panelists included Ravi Kalhan, MD (Northwestern Medicine), Dorothy Shapiro, DNP, ACNP-BC, COPD APN (Suburban Lung Associates) and Kim French, MHSA (Suburban Lung Associates).

The 2016 conference breakout session presentations can be viewed by clicking on the links below:

2016 Breakout Sessions

New Developments in COPD Medicine
Lori Wilken, PharmD, University of Illinois Hospital and Health Sciences System

Improve Your Nutrition for Better COPD Management
Carol Braunschweig, PhD, RD, University of Illinois at Chicago

Getting Back to Pulmonary Rehabilitation

Jennifer Ryan, PT, MS, DPT, CCS, The University of Chicago and Donna Frownfelter, PT, DPT, MA, CCS, RRT, FCCP, Rosalind Franklin University

Indoor Air Quality & Your Health
David Zeidner, MS, CMR, WRT, LEED AP, Hygieneering, Inc.

Indoor Air Quality & Your Health
Lainie Sanker Kast, Respiratory Health Association

COPD & Safety Tips for Travel
Ellen M. Moran, MS, RRT, RPFT, RCP, Rush University Medical Center and Krzysztof Wlosek, MSN, RN, sFNP, Rush University Medical Center

Thank you to the 2016 Living Better Together Sponsors

This event was supported by our generous sponsors, including Boehringer Ingelheim, Health Care Solutions Group, Inc., Shire, Aetna Better Health of Illinois, Apria Healthcare Group Inc., Gift of Hope Organ & Tissue Donor Network and RespirTech.

Between educational breakout sessions, guests visited exhibitors including Boehringer Ingelheim, Health Care Solutions Group, Inc., Shire, Aetna Better Health of Illinois, Gift of Hope Organ & Tissue Donor Network and RespirTech, Alpha-1 Foundation, Illinois Society for Respiratory Care, University of Illinois at Chicago and Illinois Physical Therapy Association.

During the past 13 years of the Living Better Together COPD Conference, Respiratory Health Association has reached more than 3,000 individuals living with COPD, their caregivers, and pulmonary rehabilitation staff. The event continues to grow and improve every year.

COPD National Action Plan Released

The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI), a branch of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), releases its COPD National Action Plan. Respiratory Health Association believes this plan will serve as a springboard to promote policy change that supports the needs of people living with COPD and their caregivers, and fosters better communications among healthcare providers, all in an effort to reduce the burden of COPD and improve health outcomes for people living with the disease.

RHA’s COPD initiatives are aligned to support the national plan’s goals:

  • Empower people with COPD, their families, and caregivers to recognize and reduce the burden of COPD
  • Improve quality of care delivered across health care systems
  • Collect, analyze, report, and disseminate COPD data
  • Increase and sustain COPD research
  • Turn COPD policy and program recommendations into research and public healthcare actions

During the plan’s development, RHA was pleased to work with COPD stakeholders across the nation to provide input and feedback.

Join RHA and the COPD patient community as we work together each year on advocacy activities targeting elected officials.

COPD Award Established by Kathleen Hart Solovy

Jerold Solovy, former chair emeritus of the Jenner & Block law firm in Chicago, was one of the estimated one million individuals in Illinois living with COPD. The Kathleen Hart Solovy and Jerold S. Solovy Endowment for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) has been created at RHA in his memory.

Kathleen Hart Solovy established the fund in her husband’s memory, after she and Jerry experienced firsthand the toll from COPD on individuals and their families.

Through her gift, Mrs. Solovy has created the Solovy Award for Advancement in COPD, an annual award made to an outstanding COPD researcher that recognizes innovation and continued progress among health professionals and others in the prevention, treatment and cure of COPD.

Nominations are accepted in the spring and the award will be presented at Respiratory Health Association’s annual Summer Reception each June.

First-of-Kind COPD Caregiver’s Toolkit Created

Addressing the needs of families affected by COPD, RHA developed a first-of-its-kind “toolkit” of resource materials for caregivers of people living with COPD. We are now pilot testing the toolkit with caregivers, COPD patients, and researchers.