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2012 - 2013 Annual Report

We are proud and delighted to report that 2012-13 was an extremely busy and productive year for the Ontario Lung Association – 12 months in which we made great progress in our mission to improve lung health for all Ontarians.

Here are a few highlights:

Respiratory Health Programs

Members of the Respiratory Health Programs staff have been engaged in an expanding roster of patient support initiatives and educational programs targeting patients, caregivers and health-care providers. 

Train-the-trainer workshops in motivational interviewing for smoking cessation were rolled out in primary care sites across the province. These sessions and the associated toolkit have been developed in partnership with the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. The workshops will continue in fiscal 2013-14.

Our programs staff have also been key collaborators in the development of a new web asthma app called “breathe”. It works on a computer, tablet or smartphone and it will help people with asthma to improve self-monitoring and self-management of their disease. The app, developed in collaboration with the Centre for Global E-health Innovation at the University Health Network, is currently being evaluated by a team of clinical researchers from London Health Sciences Centre, Queen’s University and the Hospital for Sick Children.

Another important milestone this year was completion of the revised pediatric and adult emergency department asthma care pathways. These clinical pathways improve quality of care by providing a standardized best-practices approach to the urgent treatment of asthma.

Most of our respiratory programs involve education in one form or another. We are particularly proud of the six one-hour asthma workshops delivered via the Keewaytinook Okimakanak Telemedicine Network to First Nations communities in the remote Sioux Lookout region. These sessions will continue n next year with a focus on COPD.

Our Provider Education Program (PEP)delivered 20 CME events on Asthma, Asthma Action Plans, Preschool Asthma, COPD and Spirometry Interpretation across Ontario through workshops, conferences and OTN sessions. Another big project for PEP this year was the development of our Asthma Action Plan e-learning module and the review and update of our programming to include the 2012 CTS Asthma Guideline update.

Health Promotion and Public Education

For our Health Promotion team, the highlight of 2012-13 was last summer’s Lungevity Tour when our indefatigable COPD ambassadors Bruce Eyre and Brenda Cunningham crossed the province on their motorcycle raising awareness of COPD and the importance of early diagnosis. Both Brenda and Bruce have COPD and although Brenda needs around the clock oxygen, they were still able to hit the road to share their story of hope and inspiration, accompanied by Bruce’s son Dean in the support van.

Seven of our Community Offices participated in the Lungevity Tour, helping to ensure strong media and patient engagement in every Community and the development of strong corporate partnerships with the Tour sponsors. The Tour generated 176 news stories, more than 10 million earned media impressions and reached almost 100 million impressions overall through all promotional activities. 

An updated version of our quit-smoking workbook Journey 2 Quit was launched on World No Tobacco Day. Since then almost 20,000 copies have been distributed throughout the province. A French version is now available.

Other resources developed include a manual on “How to Start a Lung Health Support Group”, a brochure to complement the “Your Healthy Home” website and an exercise module for the Quit & Get Fit Web site.

Finally, we re-launched the extensively revamped interactive indoor air quality guide YourHealthyHome.ca.  The new site has many new features and expanded information resources and is available in French for the first time.

Conferences

The annual Better Breathing conference was yet another big success and confirms the event as one of Canada’s top health education conferences. Attendance was up, with 159 ORCS and 160 OTS delegates, feedback was overwhelmingly positive and we surpassed our financial goals. 

The Respiratory Health Forum has become a much-anticipated adjunct to Better Breathing and this year was no exception. We had 127 participants on each of the two days representing just over 100 primary care sites in Ontario and 88 per cent of participants were from Family Health Teams.

The Ontario Lung Association TB Committee presented the bi-annual TB conference in Toronto in November, attracting more than 250 participants, 95 percent of whom rated the event very good or excellent.

Advocacy

Our advocacy efforts last year once again focused on leveraging the evidence contained in the Your Lungs Your Life report in support of our campaign for an Ontario Lung Health Action Plan. Our principal advocacy vehicle was leadership of the Ontario Lung Health Alliance, which continued to expand as more organisations expressed interest in working with us to advance lung health in Ontario.

The Breathers United campaign also grew as we introduced Advocacy Academy training sessions where patients, care givers, health care providers and others learned how to take the Breathers United messaging directly to their MPPs. More than 100 people have been trained at in-person sessions and we are now looking at delivering training via the Ontario Telehealth Network or web conferencing  to people in remote parts of the province.

The OLA remained active across the spectrum of lung health issues including tobacco control, indoor and outdoor air quality and radon awareness. OLA representatives played an active role in a number of coalitions including: The Smoke Free Movies Coalition; Smoke Free Housing Ontario; a group pushing for an end to coal power and another dedicated to passing legislation to improve radon awareness.

Research

In the year under review, the Ontario Lung Association and its professional societies – the Ontario Thoracic Society and the Ontario Respiratory Care Society – maintained and expanded their efforts to promote better respiratory health through research and continuing education. Sixteen research projects received funding totaling $1.3 million in 2012-13, covering a range of research topics including acute lung injury, asthma, COPD, lung infections, lung transplant and surgery and smoking cessation.

The ORCS continued to support research and graduate study by health care providers in respiratory care with its Research Grants, Fellowship Awards and Education Awards for Advanced Respiratory Practice.

In the past year we have developed new initiatives with existing pharma partners. The new Glaxo Smith Kline and Intermune research grants were announced at the fourth Annual Breathe! research fundraising gala, held on January 31 at the Eglinton Grand.  This year we had record attendance and raised more than $120,000 towards lung health research. The evening was a celebration of research and would not have been possible without the continuing support of our major sponsor, Pfizer Canada.

Community Offices

The McMaster Community Office organized its sixth Walter Gretzky Street Ball Hockey Tournament, raising more than $26,000 for the Lung Association. The Ottawa community office organized the first “I Love Lungs” team to participate in a variety of run/walk races. The team also fundraised at the Ottawa Race Weekend where, in addition to the strong team of 12 I Love Lungs runners/walkers, there were over 80 I Love Lungs volunteers helping out at water stations during the marathon.

Last year, we also celebrated the continuing success of two long standing annual special events in Stratford and Sault Ste Marie communities.  Both the Stratford Garden Festival and the Sault Ste Marie Festival of Trees have been running for over a decade and this year raised a combined total of more than $114,000.

Conclusion

Finally, we would like to express our deep gratitude to all those whose efforts have contributed to the important work outlined above. They include our fellow members of the Board of Directors, our dedicated staff, members of our two professional societies – the Ontario Thoracic Society and the Ontario Respiratory Care Society – our donors, volunteers and patient advocates. Thank you for your passion and your commitment to our important cause.

Sincerely,

Helene Michaud  

    Hélène Michaud
    Chair, Board of Directors

George Habib
President and CEO