David Yelin, Esq. Receives 2020 Herbert C. DeYoung Medal, RHA’s Top Honor

Respiratory Health Association is proud to acknowledge years of work and leadership of board member, David Yelin, with the Herbert C. DeYoung Medal this year.

Since 2002, David has helped build Respiratory Health Association (RHA) into the strong local lung health organization we are today, but he acknowledges and credits the work of his collaborators and mentors first.

“I stood on the shoulders of many great people who came before me,” David quickly admits as we talk about his accomplishments on the board.

Over the past 18 years, David has helped diversify RHA’s board membership to include members from different areas of business – a move that helped develop new partnerships and support for the organization.  After his 2-year tenure as Board Chair, he led the board’s Governance Task Force ensuring RHA has strong oversight and a vision for growth. Earlier in his tenure on the Board, he helped orchestrate the Association’s establishment as an independent nonprofit, building support from the Board of Directors and ensuring RHA has the flexibility to develop programs and policy efforts that best meet the needs its communities and serve our neighbors who are disproportionately affected by lung disease.

When David was the Board Chair, he led the Association through the beginning stages of a Capital Campaign to improve our home at 1440 W Washington Blvd.  David helped launch the Capital Campaign in 2017 to address the growing building rehabilitation needs and to modernize the space. “We need a working environment for our staff that matches our mission,” says Yelin.

For David, receiving the DeYoung Medal this year has symbolic significance. David is the same age as his father was when he passed away, after smoking most of his life and then fighting lung cancer.

Both of David’s parents were smokers when he was young. Despite David and his three sister’s attempts at hiding cigarettes or pleading with their parents, they never quit smoking until later in life.  David is a big supporter of RHA’s tobacco policy programs, because he wants to stop cigarettes from getting into the hands of teens. David has advocated with RHA for Smoke-Free Illinois in the early 2000s and most recently Tobacco 21, raising the legal tobacco purchasing age from 18 to 21.

David Yelin isn’t slowing down either. “Few people have the opportunity to be involved with an organization that has such an impact on people’s lives,” David says. “It’s a real privilege.”

On behalf of everyone at RHA, thank you David. Thank you for all you have done to make Respiratory Health Association one of the leading lung health organizations in the country.