Advocates lend their voice for lung friendly policies at Illinois State Capitol

2014-05-16T00:00:00Z Advocates lend their voice for lung friendly policies at Illinois State CapitolFor The Times nwitimes.com
May 16, 2014 12:00 am  • 

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. | Recently, Respiratory Health Association led a group of 60 constituents from more than 30 different districts on a trip to Springfield, Ill., giving them the opportunity to meet with decision makers about lung health legislation. The group included several Rush University nursing students, a teen with cystic fibrosis, a double lung transplant recipient and many citizens eager to promote lung health for all.

“Having dedicated people describe how a lack of clean air can create life-threatening situations brings needed perspective,” said Brian Urbaszewski, director of environmental health programs at Respiratory Health Association. “Every year, we make it a point to bring a group to Springfield to remind decision makers about the issues that impact lung health in a very personal way.”

Participants met face-to-face with decision makers and spoke with them about policies related to lung health including: raising awareness of COPD and asthma, creating smoke-free campuses, promoting clean renewable energy and regulating e-cigarettes.

Highlights from the day includeD a group of advocates speaking with Rep. Patricia Bellock, R-Hinsdale, on the resolution she has proposed that would increase awareness and programs for individuals living with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, and two young advocates taking to the Senate floor to experience state government firsthand.

“It’s a great opportunity to use our collective voices to educate decision makers on lung disease,” said Matt Maloney, director of health policy at Respiratory Health Association. “Those officials have now seen firsthand how state policies can impact someone affected by COPD, cystic fibrosis or other lung diseases. Learning that patient perspective can really impact their decision making process in the future.”

Respiratory Health Association also led a group in Washington, D.C., for a similar experience on May 7 and 8.

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