Chicago Tuberculosis Institute 1906-1937
Tuberculosis Institute of Chicago and Cook County 1937-1972
Chicago Lung Association 1972-1993
American Lung Association of Metropolitan Chicago 1993-2007
Respiratory Health Association of Metropolitan Chicago 2007-2013
Respiratory Health Association 2013 - 

Respiratory Health Association has been a local public health leader in metropolitan Chicago since 1906. Today, the association addresses respiratory issues such as asthma, COPD, lung cancer, tobacco control and air quality with a comprehensive approach involving research, education and advocacy activities. These are significant milestones in our development.

By the time tuberculosis spread to the United States in the late 19th century, it was already responsible for one quarter of all deaths in Europe. The contagious lung disease took hold in highly populated cities and quickly became the nation's leading killer.

1906 Miss Harriet Fulmer and Dr. Theodore B. Sachs of the Visiting Nurse Association found the Chicago Tuberculosis Institute (CTI) on March 17. One of Dr. Sachs's first acts as president is to open a dispensary on Elm Street. Dr. Sachs remains a towering figure in the fight against TB. He becomes founder and the first president of TBI, and president of the National Tuberculosis Association and Chicago's Municipal Tuberculosis Sanitarium.

1907 Emily Bissell, of Wilmington, Delaware, convinces the National Red Cross to use the Danish tradition of Christmas Seals to raise funds and awareness for charitable programs. We become the program's local marketing agency. The first Chicago seal raises $9,032.

1920 In the belief that sound health practices would ward off TB, we develop the Modern Health Crusade, which encourages students to brush their teeth, bathe and exercise regularly, get sufficient sleep and take vitamins. More than 136,000 students enroll in the program. Our nurses travel between schools giving physical checkups.

1925 After a 20-year battle, we help pass legislation requiring tuberculin testing for cows providing milk to Chicago residents.

1931 In response to an influx of Mexican immigrants, we set up an office on South Halsted to address the TB needs of Spanish-speaking residents. We also establish a separate, culturally appropriate program for African Americans, which includes grants to Provident Hospital.

1937 Chicago Tuberculosis Institute becomes Tuberculosis Institute of Chicago and Cook County.

1940 We organize our first research committee.

1943 The long search for a TB cure is partially realized when Dr. Selman A. Waksman of Rutgers University discovers streptomycin, a breakthrough antibiotic that immediately arrests TB's progress.

1946 To combat a still-high number of active tuberculosis cases, we partner with Municipal Tuberculosis Sanatorium to use x-rays to assist with TB detection.

1948 We move into our first permanent home at 1412 W. Washington Blvd., an area with Chicago's highest TB rates.  

1956 More than 1 million annual x-rays are given, up from 323,228 in 1947. The busiest x-ray screening unit in the world is at Chicago's City Hall. Following a decline in TB deaths, National Tuberculosis Association votes to broaden its mission to include respiratory diseases.

1964 A bequest of $130,000 from Mrs. Bertha Kramer allows us to double our space and buy the 22,500-square-foot property at 1440 W. Washington Blvd., where we exist today.

1967 In partnership with Roger Blackmore, a teacher at Skokie's Niles West High School, we develop "I'll Never Smoke" tobacco education classes. We also distribute 50,000 "Yes, I mind if you smoke" buttons.

John Kirkwood, our first Director of Environmental Health, testifies before the City Council and the Illinois Air Pollution Control Board on behalf of tighter air pollution standards. He also organizes the Clean Air Coordinating Committee and scores a major victory by winning a suit against the IEPA.

1972 Tuberculosis Institute of Chicago and Cook County becomes Chicago Lung Association.

1980 Camp Action, a weeklong summer camp for children with asthma, is launched to help children enjoy outdoor activities and learn asthma management.

1984 Our smoking withdrawal clinic is recognized by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as one of the nation's 35 outstanding community health promotion programs.

1985 Our research endowment is formed, doubling our research efforts.

1988 We organize a grassroots lobbying campaign to pass Chicago's first clean indoor ordinance (34-8), restricting smoking in restaurants, workplaces and public spaces.

1992 We join with Alderman Ed Smith to secure passage of a Chicago City Council amendment requiring restaurants to make 30 percent of their dining areas smoke-free.

1992 Board member Diana Hackbarth leads a protest against Virginia Slims at the University of Illinois at Chicago Pavilion: "A tax-supported state university has no business aligning itself with a tobacco company which promotes disease and death to its customers." Volunteers later drew national media attention when they picketed the Democratic National Convention.

1993 Chicago Lung Association becomes the American Lung Association of Metropolitan Chicago.

1997 We spearhead the development of a nationwide network of asthma clinical research centers to conduct large-scale asthma research. Our study on billboard advertising persuades the Chicago City Council to approve a ban on tobacco and alcohol billboards in minority areas.

1998 We host our first Hustle up the Hancock, a stair climb up one of the tallest building in Chicago. To help fight infection disease, we administer more than 14,000 flu shots.

2001 Our school-based health programs reach more than 32,000 students, parents and educators. Chicago Campaign for Clean Air launched a campaign to reduce air pollution from coal burning power plants in Pilsen and Little Village.

2004 We unveil four major health initiatives: "Catch Your Breath," the first annual women and lung health conference; Chicago's first Asthma Action Plan; a COPD Initiative; and the READI program, which provides influenza vaccinations to 25,000 Chicagoans.

2005 We play a key role passing Chicago's comprehensive clean indoor air ordinance, phasing out smoking in all bars and restaurants.

2007 Thanks in part to our advocacy efforts, the Illinois Assembly passes the Smoke-free Illinois Act.

2007 American Lung Association of Metropolitan Chicago becomes an independent lung health organization, changing its name to Respiratory Health Association of Metropolitan Chicago.

2013 Respiratory Health Association of Metropolitan Chicago becomes Respiratory Health Association as it expands its respiratory health efforts throughout Chicagoland, Northwest Indiana and nationally.