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.

BUILDING A HEALTHY FUTURE TOGETHER

Your support made it possible for us to have an impact in communities throughout Illinois and beyond this past year. Together we faced new challenges, found new solutions, and made progress toward a future free of lung disease. As we come to the end of our program year, we want to share some of our work to prevent lung disease, promote clean air, and help people with lung disease live better lives.

ASTHMA
In partnership with the Illinois Network of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies (INCCRRA), we developed a new tool for childcare providers across the state to help children under their care living with asthma. Since its release, more than 2,500 people have viewed the English or Spanish versions.

ENVIRONMENT
After three years of advocacy and leadership with many partner organizations, we helped secure the passage of the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act (CEJA) – a nation-leading equitable climate law. CEJA sets Illinois on the path to 100% clean energy by 2050, and we continue to lead implementation of these efforts – particularly working with lawmakers to accelerate transportation electrification across the state.

AIR POLLUTION
On the heels of a new report identifying serious health risks from diesel pollution in Illinois, we are leading a coalition to secure passage of Advanced Clean Truck rules. This effort, made possible by a grant from the Energy Foundation, would lead to the electrification of heavy-duty trucks – reducing current threats of diesel emissions.

LUNG CANCER
To improve access to lung cancer screenings
for high-risk populations in Illinois, we coordinated with healthcare partners to identify barriers to these screenings. Together, we were able to successfully advocate for $1 million in funding in Illinois to help people learn about and use these services. Expanding access to these preventative services will help identify lung cancer in people most at risk, saving lives along the way.

COVID-19
Thanks to a grant from Will Rogers Institute, we are launching a new project
to develop patient-facing resources about the potential impacts of long COVID. As emerging research continues to document the lasting effects of long COVID, we will be on the front lines of raising awareness about these new challenges and helping people most vulnerable manage their health.

COPD
Caring for a family member or friend living with COPD can be hard. An estimated 16 million people live with COPD and millions more have symptoms but
are not yet diagnosed. This highlights a growing need to support caregivers in the COPD community. In partnership with the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute’s Learn More ® Breathe Better™Program, we created an online version of our COPD Caregiver’s Toolkit. Now, informal caregivers across the country can more easily access resources to help navigate the challenges of providing care to their loved ones.

WOMEN’S LUNG HEALTH
One in 6 women lives with lung disease. With remarkable growth of our Catch Your Breath® women’s lung health initiative, we continue to raise awareness about the special risks lung disease poses for women. This year we were able to again partner with CHEST Foundation to fund promising research studying disparities in women’s lung health.

TOBACCO
In partnership with the Illinois Health Practice Alliance, a behavioral health services group with more than 100 clinics serving Medicaid patients in Illinois, we are expanding access to our smoking cessation programs. We trained providers in these clinics on our Counsel to Quit® and Courage to Quit® programs, which they will deliver to people who smoke at some of the highest rates.

RESEARCH
We awarded grants to fund new research into lung cancer, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), and COPD. One of the lung cancer studies from Dr. Maria Lucia Madariagais looking at new techniques to study lung tissue, with the goal of better targeting and improving cancer treatments. Our annual Solovy Award for Advancement in COPD was awarded to support Dr. Laura Feemster’s COPD research efforts at University of Washington.

 

To learn more about the educational programs, research, and policy work your contributions support, as well as to receive updates on our work toward healthy lungs and clean air for all, sign-up for our monthly newsletter.

If you’d like to support RHA’s work to prevent lung disease, promote clean air, and help people living with lung disease, you can donate here.

Save the date: COPD Patient Conference

Join us on Thursday, November 21, 2019 for Respiratory Health Association’s 16th annual Living Better Together COPD Conference at Meridian Banquets and Conference Center in Rolling Meadows, IL. RHA’s goal at the 2019 COPD conference is to promote disease awareness and to help people who are living with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) to become educated consumers of healthcare, as well as effective disease self-managers.

At last year’s event, nearly 300 individuals living with COPD, caregivers and pulmonary rehab staff enjoyed a variety of sessions, including a moderated keynote, “Living Everyday with COPD”. Panelists Ravi Kalhan, MD, MS and Harvey Wolf, Psy.D shared recommendations on preventing COPD exacerbations, methods for monitoring symptoms of COPD, and tips to manage the comorbidities of anxiety and depression in patients with COPD.

Conference planning is under way and people living with COPD and their caregivers will not want to miss this year’s event. Registration will open in September. Supplemental oxygen and bus transportation from locations throughout Chicagoland will be offered.

Living Better Together is the country’s largest patient-focused COPD conference. We welcome individual or group attendance. If you have any questions about Living Better Together logistics, programming or attendance, please contact RHA program coordinator Avanthi Chatrathi at (312) 229-6186 or [email protected].

Dr. Ravi Kalhan Receives 2019 Solovy Award for COPD Research

Respiratory Health Association (RHA) is pleased to name Ravi Kalhan, MD, MS, Director of the Northwestern Asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) Program, as recipient of the 2019 Solovy Award for Advancement in COPD.

Kathleen Hart Solovy and Dr. Ravi KalhanDr. Kalhan additionally serves as director of the Alpha-1-Antitrypsin Deficiency Clinical Resource Center at Northwestern and medical director of the lung volume reduction surgery (LVRS) program. Dr. Kalhan’s clinical interests are in the care of patients with both asthma and COPD as well as alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiency. His research interests relate to respiratory epidemiology, in particular, identification of early risk factors that impact the vulnerability of certain cigarette smokers to develop COPD. He is also involved in clinical trials of new therapies for both asthma and COPD.

Dr. Kalhan additionally serves as Chairman of the Illinois COPD Coalition, a multidisciplinary group, including representatives from community-based organizations, public health departments, professional organizations, patients, caregivers, healthcare providers, pharmaceutical companies and home healthcare providers. They have the goal of implementing sustainable solutions for reducing the burden of COPD in Illinois.

The 2019 Solovy Award was presented to Dr. Kalhan by RHA board member Kathleen Hart Solovy as part of RHA’s year-end reception on June 27, 2019. Funding for the award is provided by the Kathleen Hart Solovy and Jerold S. Solovy Endowment for COPD.

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.