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. and awards RHA a 10-year contract to coordinate TB research projects from Chicago. In the ensuing 10 years, RHA coordinates local participation in almost 20 tuberculosis epidemiologic research studies.
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 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.
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 disease. Between 1998 and 2014, RHA nurses administer 126,980 flu shots throughout metropolitan Chicago.
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 asbestos in buildings throughout Chicago.
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 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.
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 smoke-free laws in Chicago and Illinois, among other locations.
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 healthy lungs and clean air.
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 quit smoking and to dissuade youth from becoming smokers.