The Respiratory Health sub-committee is the youngest of the Louisville Health Advisory Board (LHAB) sub-committees, having formed in August 2017. Many of our committee members have been involved with other committees or have been interested in serving since LHAB launched in fall 2015.
We remember at the inaugural Clinical Town Hall, Humana shared data about the many health conditions that were driving unhealthy days and lung health was one of the major contributors. Sadly, at the kickoff meeting when committees formed, there were not enough folks interested to get a workgroup going at that time. Fast forward a few years and a number of developments have occurred that allowed us to rekindle the flame.
For example, the community asthma intervention project called AIR Louisville launched two years ago, and today, under Veronica Combs' (Institute for Healthy Air, Water and Soil) leadership, there are many community stakeholders that are excited to tackle asthma and make our city a place that promotes lung health. Similarly, a short time ago, Ben Chandler took the reigns at the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky and made “Smoke Free Kentucky” a major focus of their work. The clinical science is definitive that reducing smoking is one of the best ways to get more healthy days in Louisville and surrounding counties.
Beyond this new energy, the committee is trying to embrace the best of the ideas of the Bold Goal effort. The idea was always to align the stakeholders in the community to work together to make more progress. We have taken that to heart. For example, we know the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky needs help getting their policy and program ideas shared across communities that simply have not taken steps to reduce smoking. We are working together to rally the networks of AIR Louisville, supporting employers and the great grass roots of the ALA to move advocacy to the next level. Similarly, the American Lung Association has partnered with Revon Systems to help the Community Health Clinic in Butchertown, and now holds regular lung screening clinics for those without health insurance. These are just some examples of how we are trying to maximize the common interests of our committee members.
Our committee recognizes that this is a bit of an experiment. Engaging around respiratory health at this point is new territory, and we hope to benefit from the pioneering work of the other LHAB committees, who share in the philosophy of a Bold Goal that is not time-bound and is inclusive. We care about the health of our community in 2017, 2020, 2040 and beyond.
We will work hard to raise awareness for the many important and simple things that our community can do to breath better and promote the good health of future generations, and welcome others to join us.
About the authors:
As co-chairs of LHAB’s Respiratory Health sub-committee, Deena Adams brings the full force of the American Lung Association, and Ted Smith brings the health tech entrepreneurial community to the table.
Deena Adams is Development Manager for American Lung Association in Kentucky and advances the capacity for the organization to deliver health- promoting programs.
Ted Smith is CEO of Revon Systems which develops lung health tools for those suffering from COPD and Asthma and he has many years of community-based civic health tech experience.