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Annual Report 2013/2014

 

Friends,

Lung disease affects millions of Ontarians – not only the 2.4 million people living with respiratory illness but also their families and caregivers, health-care providers, researchers, advocates, volunteers and donors.

Collectively, they are the driving force behind everything we do at the Ontario Lung Association as we pursue our mission to improve lung health: supporting patients as they confront the life-changing challenges that come with a diagnosis of chronic lung disease; funding life-saving research; providing education on respiratory health; and campaigning for cleaner air, stricter tobacco controls and more effective policies to address the lung health crisis.

In the brief “highlights package” that follows, we have tried to give you a feel for the scope of our enterprise and an understanding of why it is so important that this work continues and expands. For a more comprehensive and detailed description of our ongoing support, education, research and advocacy initiatives, please visit our website at www.on.lung.ca

 

Driving the Campaign for a Stronger Research Agenda

This was the year that the lung federation – the Canadian Lung Association and the provincial Lung Associations – laid the foundation for the National Respiratory Research Strategy, an initiative that will strengthen and elevate lung research across Canada. The Ontario Lung Association (OLA) is playing a pivotal role in this endeavour by rolling out an ambitious national fundraising campaign called Breathing as One.  Its task: to stimulate cutting-edge respiratory research in Canada by funding the best scientists, clinical and biomedical researchers to focus on lung disease.

Meanwhile, the research grant programs offered by our two professional societies – the Ontario Thoracic Society (OTS) and Ontario Respiratory Care Society (ORCS) – continue to amaze us with the number of applicants and the quality of the projects they propose. The OTS grant-in-aid program and the ORCS fellowship and grant program are well known in the respiratory community as a source of financial support that scientists and health-care professionals can use to leverage more substantial grants from other sources.

Partnerships with industry are also assuming more importance as we intensify our fundraising efforts for important respiratory research and training. This year, along with the established OLA-Pfizer Canada research awards, we added two new fellowships: the OLA-GlaxoSmithKline Leadership Fellowship in Respiratory Health Care; and the OLA-InterMune Interstitial Lung Disease Clinical Fellowship.

These awards were presented at the annual Breathe! gala, a night when leaders from the health professions, government, business and partner organizations join with patients, families and supporters to honour and raise funds for lung research. This year’s gala, bigger and better than ever in a sparkling new venue, featured a keynote speech by veteran health journalist André Picard and a very special musical performance by the young lung cancer survivor Joseph Neale.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Expanding the Reach of our Programs and Services

Our Respiratory Health Programs team has been engaged in an expanding roster of support, outreach and educational initiatives targeting patients, health-care providers and the public.

The Asthma Program mounted two successful public outreach campaigns. The first, on World Asthma Day 2013, was the launch of a new step-by-step guide for schools, showing them how to create safe environments for students with asthma. The second was a new version of the popular Asthma Active children’s book, revamped and re-launched with financial support from last year’s Docs on Ice hockey tournament, hosted by our community office in Stratford.

Other important Asthma Program milestones last year included:

  • Completion and deployment of the revised pediatric and adult emergency department asthma care pathways;
  • Expanded support for Primary Care Asthma Program and Health Links sites throughout the province;
  • Expansion of the asthma seminar series for First Nations communities in Sioux Lookout to incorporate chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD); and
  • Conducting 29 workshops for more than 1,000 physicians and allied health professionals as well as three on-line courses for more than 200 participants.

During the year, we also launched the Value Demonstrating Initiative (VDI) on COPD, the result of a unique partnership among the Ontario Lung Association, the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care and Rx&D, representing Canada’s research-based pharmaceutical companies.

The VDI is ground-testing a new approach designed to improve care by ensuring that patients receive all the health services they need, including help to quit smoking, vaccinations, the right medication, and exercise and education programs. It will assess whether improving COPD care in the community can reduce hospital use and improve patient outcomes.

Provincial Programs staff also expanded the association’s professional education portfolio during the year. As well as extending its roster of continuing medical education accredited events on asthma, COPD and spirometry interpretation delivered through workshops, conferences and Ontario Telemedicine Network (OTN) sessions, the Provider Education Program launched new e-learning modules on Spirometry and Asthma Action Plans incorporating the 2012 CTS asthma guideline updates.

Other education highlights included:

  • The Ontario Respiratory Care Society seminar series, which reached 583 people in eight communities throughout the province;
  • Two OTN broadcasts to 52 sites across the province addressing tuberculosis;
  • The annual Respiratory Health Forum, attracting 130 participants from more than 110 primary care sites; and
  • The annual Better Breathing conference, which reinforced its reputation as one of Canada’s top medical education conferences by exceeding its financial targets while achieving overwhelmingly positive feedback from participants.

Our programs staff have also been key collaborators in the development of a new web asthma app called “breathe”. It works on any computer, tablet or smartphone and it will help people with asthma to improve self-monitoring and self-management of their disease. The app is in pilot testing at the moment with 400 users across the province.

Health promotion and public education activities last year focused on smoking cessation, indoor air quality and radon. Highlights of our work on these issues included:

  • Playing a leading role in the launch of Radon Action Month, a national public education initiative funded by Health Canada;
  • Distributing 20,000 copies of the popular Journey 2 Quit book to hospitals, public health units and family health teams across the province and launching the Quit and Get Fit fee-for-service model;
  • Launching an extensively revamped version of YourHealthyHome.ca, the interactive guide to indoor air quality, and promoting indoor air quality and radon awareness at various locations with the new Your Healthy Home display tent.
Take ACTION on RADON
Quit and Get Fit Web Logo

 

 

 

 

 

In November, our many and varied programs and activities coalesced into 30 days of intense activity as the Ontario Lung Association celebrated the first-ever Lung Month.  This was an opportunity to work with our professional societies and our partners in industry to deliver lung-health messages to every corner of the province using traditional and new media and other communications vehicles.  Lung Month highlights included:

  • The raising of the Ontario Lung Association flag at Toronto City Hall on November 1 to mark the start of Lung Month. Dozens of municipalities throughout the province made official proclamations about Lung Month;
  • A four-page lung health guide called Breathing Lessons was distributed in community newspapers to more than 900,000 households;
  • Television and radio public service announcements on the theme “The Faces of Lung Disease” were broadcast in many regions;
  • Special spirometry clinics, and educational displays, were conducted at three Toronto downtown hospitals to coincide with World COPD Day; and
  • A mass mailout of educational and promotional materials went to more than 800 community health centres, family heath teams and hospitals throughout Ontario.

Engaging Diverse Partners in Outreach and Advocacy

Grassroots engagement – with patients, volunteers, donors and other lung health champions – is the lifeblood of our organization, and our eight community offices are a vital conduit to these stakeholder groups. They play a pivotal role, not only in the annual Tulip Day signature fundraising event but also in the many public education and outreach efforts initiated by the provincial office during the year.

In addition, staff members in our community offices organize an array of special events that raise awareness of our organization while raising funds to pursue our mission of better lung health for every Ontarian.  The Stratford Garden Festival is a perennial favourite and Bowling with the Bulls is a dream come true for Belleville’s hockey fans. Then there’s the GASP Run for your Lungs in London; Windsor’s legendary Bike Trek; the popular Walter Gretzky Street Hockey Tournament in Brantford; the dedicated “I Love Lungs” Team, now a fixture at the annual Ottawa Race Weekend; Kingston’s Festival of Trees; and all the messy fun of the annual Grape Stomp in Sault Ste Marie.

Advocacy – the ability to engage in focused campaigns for better policies to address respiratory health in general and important lung-related issues in particular – is an important complement to our patient support, research and education activities.

Last year, our main focus was the campaign for an Ontario Lung Health Action Plan. Following a broad consultation with stakeholders, including our partners in the Ontario Lung Health Alliance, we produced a draft framework for the proposed plan that will form the basis for the next round of activities on this file. Our latest pre-budget submission to the Ontario Finance Minister made the case for the creation of an Ontario Lung Health Advisory Council to begin implementation of elements of the Lung Health Action Plan.

The association organized two successful lobby days at the provincial legislature and conducted effective advocacy around important pieces of legislation dealing with lung-related issues such as radon, tobacco control and asthma-friendly schools.

Meanwhile, the Youth Advocacy Training Institute reached 4,243 young people and 706 adults with their message of working together to improve community health through advocacy, education and positive youth development.

YATI logo High Res

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reaching Financial Sustainability

The financial statements that accompany this summary show that after several years of fiscal constraint, the Association is now generating enough revenue to fund program and research needs while maintaining our reserves at no less than 50 per cent of annual operating expenses.


Please see our full financial report here.

Achieving Higher Standards

Whether it’s delivering programs and services, fundraising or working with our many stakeholders, the Ontario Lung Association strives to create and maintain a culture of excellence in all phases of its work. We are proud to report that these efforts have been recognized with official accreditation under the Imagine Canada national Standards Program.

The Standards Program is a Canada-wide set of shared standards for charities and non-profit organizations designed to demonstrate excellence in five areas: board governance; financial accountability and transparency; fundraising policies and practices; staff management; and volunteer involvement.

The operations of the Ontario Lung Association were evaluated in a transparent peer-review process and found to be compliant with the Standards Program, making it one of the first organizations to receive the accreditation.  At that time, we were among only 45 organizations in Canada to have earned the right to display the Imagine Canada Standards Program Trustmark,

Conclusion

The 2013-14 year was an extremely busy and productive period for the Ontario Lung Association. Everyone involved – from board members to provincial and community office staff, members of our two professional societies and our valued donors and volunteers – can look back with pride and satisfaction on a year of outstanding achievement during which we made significant progress in our mission to improve lung health for all Ontarians.

On behalf of the Board of Directors and staff, we thank you for your interest, your support and for taking the time to read this summary of our year’s work. We hope that as you looked through this window into our world, you gained a better appreciation of the challenges that confront us and of the urgent need for more resources to address them.

Sincerely,

Helene Michaud  

    Hélène Michaud
    Chair, Board of Directors

George Habib
President and CEO