February 18, 2016

From the CEO’s desk

Dear Readers,

On behalf of the Board and staff of Lung Foundation Australia, I wish you all a Happy New Year.

I would also like to give a vote of thanks to the Lung Foundation community for their generosity last year. You will read in these pages that our Christmas Appeal and our Shine a Light on Lung Cancer fundraising appeal were both very successful and your contributions have been put towards supporting patient support and research. Donations were still trickling in as late as the end of January, so thank you!

2016 will be another big year of change for the Lung Foundation.

New Chair takes up position from 1 January 2016

Professor Christine Jenkins who has been a long time supporter at both a Board and Committee level has assumed the position of Lung Foundation Australia Chair. Prof Jenkins has had major roles in advocacy and leadership for lung health in Australia, Chairing the National Asthma Campaign, the Federal Government’s National Asthma Advisory Group and many local and international guidelines and implementation initiatives. She was president of the Thoracic Society of Australia and New Zealand (TSANZ) from 2007 – 2009.

Prof Jenkins’ main research interest is the management of airways disease and patient reported outcomes in response to different treatments, especially in asthma and COPD as well as pulmonary rehabilitation in Australia and Asia. In 2002, she was made a Member of the Order of Australia for recognition of service to respiratory medicine as a physician, administrator and educator. We are both honoured and privileged to have someone of Prof Jenkins’ calibre leading us into the next stage of our development.

Strategic focus for 2016

2016 will be a year of investment for the Lung Foundation:

In research – We are taking up the challenge to increase our investment in research significantly, both in terms of Research Awards and our support of research infrastructure including our IPF and bronchiectasis registries and our lung cancer trials groups, nationally and internationally. Watch for more news on this investment and our work with the TSANZ in future editions.

In patient support – New patient support programs and resources are planned for bronchiectasis, IPF, pulmonary arterial hypertension and lung cancer. We are also sourcing funding to take our popular patient seminars to more regional areas. We recognise people living outside the main capital cities don’t get access to important information which will help them live better with their lung disease and we hope to address this. In addition, we will be exploring webinar options.

In clinical support – Our committees will be developing new clinical guidelines (IPF and pulmonary rehabilitation); there will be new training for primary care clinicians, and we will be delivering the biennial Australian Lung Cancer Conference in Melbourne.

In advocacy – Our Just One Breath campaign which raises awareness of the importance of lung health and promotes early diagnosis of lung disease will continue with some exciting surprises in store. October will again be promoted as QUIT4october, a smoking cessation program which will be rolled out to a wider audience for its second year. We have also joined forces with the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in Melbourne to tackle air quality and its impact on lung health in Australia. We will be working with some of the top researchers to get this important issue on the wider policy agenda.

To make all of this work possible, we need to raise funds. Fundraising events this year will include a new Corporate Cycle Challenge, a community walk, our Gala Dinner and our annual Tax and Christmas Appeals. Further information on these events can be found in the article on page four titled a focus on fundraising.

All the work we do requires financial support, but it also relies on the hard work of our clinical and community volunteers who donate countless hours. Last year, we conducted a survey to find out exactly how much time is generously contributed by our volunteers so we contacted doctors, nurses, pharmacists, physiotherapists and community members about the time they have given us. It turns out that in 2015, our volunteers collectively donated more than 9,250 hours. This translates into 230 working weeks, more than four years of donated time! This is a powerful message to take to our corporate and government funders.

So I will end my message as I started it, by thanking you. Whether you have donated $10 or $10,000 or volunteered an hour or 100 hours, your contribution makes a huge difference.

Heather Allan