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Dr. Thomas Houston announces retirement after 15 years of service

Dr. Thomas Houston, Medical Director of The Breathing Association’s Lung Health Clinic and as Tobacco Cessation Training Course, has announced his retirement.

Dr. Houston has an impressive bio as a graduate of the University of Mississippi School of Medicine. After a 10-year career in academic family medicine, he directed the American Medical Association’s tobacco control and public health advocacy programs. From 2003 to 2005, he held the Jim Finks Chair in Health Promotion at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center in New Orleans and was Professor of Public Health and Family Medicine. From 2005 to 2016, he worked at the McConnell Heart Health Center in Columbus, where he directed tobacco cessation and policy initiatives for OhioHealth. He was a former president of the Ohio Academy of Family Physicians, and he is currently Adjunct Professor in the Department of Family Medicine at The Ohio State University.

As impressive as his bio is, it does not signify just how much of his life has been donated to helping those around become better people. He has spoken up for those who could not speak for themselves as an advocate of tobacco cessation, and he implemented the Tobacco Treatment Specialist Program for The Breathing Association to help medical professionals, counselors, and therapists educate others in becoming tobacco free.

Dr. Houston has served as a board member and Medical Director of the Lung Health Clinic since 2008. The Breathing Association is a richer organization thanks to Dr. Houston’s service over the past 15 years. He has left a legacy that time cannot diminish.

2023-03-28T14:16:54-04:00March 17th, 2023|Uncategorized|

March is Women’s History Month: how has tobacco impacted women’s health?

March is Women’s History Month. We celebrate the countless women who have worked tirelessly and bravely for equality, and justice in our Nation. The theme for 2023 is “Celebrating Women Who Tell Our Stories”,  which honors women in our past and present who have served as storytellers, family matriarchs, and community leaders and those who pass on history.

As we honor all women this month, it is also important to also consider how tobacco has impacted their health. Smoking is responsible for 80% of lung cancer deaths among women each year, and lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death among women. Did you know that female smokers are nearly 22 times more likely to die from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis, compared to women who never have smoked?

It is also important to remember that women and young girls have often been the target of Big Tobacco, with ads targeting them with themes associating various nicotine products with social desirability, independence, weight control, and having fun.

President Carter said in his proclamation declaring March 2-8 the first Women’s History Week, “Too often, the women were unsung, and sometimes their contributions went unnoticed”.  “But the achievements, leadership, courage, strength, and love of the women who built America were as vital as that of the men whose names we know so well.” So during Women’s History Month, let us celebrate the women in our lives that not only tell our stories. Let us celebrate the women of the Breathing Association past, present and future who will share the important story of this historic and vital organization.

2023-03-09T08:28:41-05:00March 9th, 2023|Bruce Barcelo|

Running for Better Lungs

Dr. Roy St. John is running the Boston Marathon to raise funds for The Breathing Association. As a pulmonologist, Dr. Roy St. John understands the significance of having strong, healthy lungs. He recently qualified for the Boston Marathon after running his first marathon at the age of 63 and is using this opportunity to help others who are less fortunate.

He has partnered with The Breathing Association to raise funds for vulnerable Central Ohioans to help them breathe easier through support for lung and breathing disorders, prevention programs, energy assistance, and more.

Dr. St. John is the medical director and principal investigator at Aventiv Research and Centricity Research. His research includes numerous Phase 2, 3, and 4 pharmaceutical studies.

“I know how stressful and difficult it is for patients with lung disease to live without proper care and treatment. The mission of The Breathing Association to help those patients meshes perfectly with my training, as well as my desire to serve those less fortunate in our community.”

– Dr. Roy St. John

Help us cheer him on by donating here
2023-03-28T14:19:22-04:00March 7th, 2023|Uncategorized|

Read our latest feature in ABC 6!

The Ohio Department of Development and The Breathing Association is helping income-eligible Ohioans with water and wastewater assistance. The Low Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP) started in October 2021 and runs through September 2023.

The Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP) Can help:

  • Income 175% of Federal Poverty Guidelines
  • Utilities must be in disconnect status, shut off, in need of payment to transfer or establish new service
  • Maximum amount for bill payment assistance is up to $750 for water, up to $750 for wastewater/sewage or $1500 for water and wastewater combine

“Sometimes it helps to keep people in their homes because the water bill can be tied to your lease and if you don’t pay it you can be evicted,” Director of Government Programs for the Breathing Association Susan Spiert said. “That can put families out on the street. So, if we can pay the bill, they can stay in their homes.”

Spiert said in 2022, the program has helped pay water bills for 555 Central Ohio Families.

Columbus mom of four, Kiersten Clardy said The Breathing Association helped get her water turned back on this month.

“I am in a rental property and the bill was in my landlord’s name,” Clardy said. “I didn’t realize the bill had gotten so high. I really needed some assistance because at the time, I was attending school, a trades training and didn’t have any income coming in.”

Clardy said she owed $400.

Click here to read the full article
2023-03-28T14:21:46-04:00March 1st, 2023|Uncategorized|

New Programs for 2023

We’re excited to share our four new programs for 2023: At Home For Seniors, Quit For Good, Elevating New Moms and Kick The Nic.

At Home for Seniors is a new program that improves the health of seniors with conditions like asthma, COPD and tobacco cessation. This program helps reduces barriers to care by bringing education, diagnosis, treatment, and follow-up services directly to their homes. For more information on this program call 614-457-4570 or click here to learn more.

Quit For Good is a free workplace tobacco cessation program that encourages employees to quit smoking. This evidence-based program gets results by combining best practices, such as group education and counseling, with individual follow up to help employees quit for good. For more information on this program, click here to learn more.

Elevating New Moms is a is a groundbreaking new initiative that aims to increase infant vitality and improve the health of new moms through smoking cessation programming. Participants receive counseling and both mom and infant receive basic health screenings throughout the program. For more information on this program, click here to learn more.

Kick the Nic is an interactive program that engages Central Ohio students and educates them about the dangers of nicotine use and the importance of prevention by addressing the health effects of nicotine use, the topic of peer pressure and encouraging parents and caregivers to continue the messaging at home. For more information on this program, click here to learn more.

2023-03-28T14:24:02-04:00February 24th, 2023|Uncategorized|

Postpartum Psychosis: Education, Screening, and Treatment for Maternal and Infant Vitality

This month, we want to spotlight a perinatal mental health complication that is often misunderstood and has recently received media attention. Perinatal or postpartum psychosis is a mental health condition that occurs during pregnancy and the first year following birth. This condition is deemed a mental health emergency due to the risk for harm to self and others, including infants and children. Timely screening and treatment are critical for optimal recovery.

Postpartum psychosis is characterized by the mom, pregnant woman, or birthing person losing touch with reality. Specifically, they may experience auditory or visual hallucinations where they hear or see things others do not see or hear. They may also experience delusions, characterized by strange or inaccurate beliefs, which can be associated with perinatal suicide and infanticide. Other symptoms include cognitive impairment, irritability, difficulty sleeping, paranoia, mood swings, and persistent thoughts about death or lack of safety1.

Approximately 1-2 moms or birthing people per 1,000 births experience postpartum psychosis2. Those who have been diagnosed with or have unmanaged symptoms of bipolar disorder may be at greater risk for this perinatal mental health complication. Although psychosis is a serious mental health condition, it can be treated.  Treatment typically includes hospitalization, medication, and therapy. For those who experience postpartum psychosis to receive necessary treatment, there is a need for health care providers and birthworkers to receive adequate training on the breadth of perinatal mental health complications, as well as screening and referral processes. Additionally, there is a need for parents and family members to receive accurate education about all perinatal mental health complications and available resources. We have included resources for providers and families in this newsletter.


  3. Psychosis Symptom Checklist (PSC) and Overview
2023-03-28T14:29:12-04:00February 22nd, 2023|Dr. Alfred, Uncategorized|

Our Charity Care Brings Health Equity

The patients we see every day in our Lung Health Clinic and out in the community in our Mobile Medical Unit receive the care and attention that they need but may not have access to treatment due to cost or accessibility.

At no cost to them, our patients get screenings, vaccinations, education on how to improve their breathing, smoking cessation tools and much more.

But we could do much more.

A major roadblock we face in our charity care is the ability to perform more detailed screenings. To more precisely screen for infections such as tuberculosis, pneumonia and other pulmonary diseases and conditions, we need a mobile X-Ray machine. This would give us the ability to see concerning spots in patients’ lungs to determine the best next steps for care. With a mobile X-Ray machine, that care can go anywhere we are, either in the community or in our own clinic.

For more information on how our patients could better be served if The Breathing Association had a mobile Xray machine, please click here to hear from Dr. Iyaad Hasan, DNP, MBA, APRN

Our charity care is 100% funded by people like you. Maybe you or someone you care for have been touched by a lung health condition, or you know someone who has benefited from charity care services. No matter your “why” we can all agree that providing much needed medical services to our growing vulnerable communities is much needed. This fiscal year we are on track to spend approximately $80,000 to provide charity care, have raised $47,000 so far. We are almost there. Would you help us bridge the gap in charity care?

Click Here to Donate Today

Together, we can care for every breath our community takes.

2023-03-28T14:32:36-04:00February 17th, 2023|Uncategorized|

Why the need is great: Franklin County reports higher rates of disease in every demographic group compared to the rest of Ohio

While rates of tuberculosis have remained constant overall, rates of the disease in every demographic group are higher in Franklin County as compared to Ohio. In fact, the tuberculosis is four times higher in Franklin County males and two times higher in Franklin County African American communities than in Ohio.

Interestingly, Franklin County residents ages 65 years and older have a higher percentage report having had a pneumonia vaccination than average Ohioans, yet Pneumonia is still one of the top 10 causes of admission for Franklin County hospitals. A mobile X-Ray Machine will help screen, diagnosis, and provide treatment to more individuals in their own communities.

2021 TB Risk Assessment for Franklin County, Ohio
2021 Ohio TB Cases

– Iyaad Hasan DNP, MBA, APRN

Chief Operations Officer / VP of Operations

2023-03-28T15:30:17-04:00February 10th, 2023|Uncategorized|

How Does Ohio Measure Up?

We need to do annual check-ups with our family physicians, don’t we? They can tell us so many things. In the last several weeks, there have been two great annual tobacco “check-ups” that can certainly tell us a lot about the state of Ohio. Let’s take a look. The first is the “Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids: Broken Promises To Our Children”. This report highlights that Ohio ranks 31st in its spending on tobacco prevention and cessation.  This is only a little over 11% of what the CDC recommended spending amount is. The state of Ohio brings in $1.2 billion in tobacco revenue and the tobacco industry spends almost $430 million to market its product in Ohio.   So, what is the real cost to our state? Residents’ state and federal tax burden from smoking-caused expenditures is $1,186 per household. Tobacco killed 20,200 Ohio citizens last year. This isn’t a very good check-up.

Let’s now turn to the American Lung Association “State of Tobacco Control Grade Card”. When I was a child, my teacher handed my grade card to me, and I then handed it to my parents. Here are Ohio’s grades: Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Funding: F, Smokefree Air: A, Tobacco Taxes: F, Access to Cessation Services: C, Flavored Tobacco Products: F. That’s 3F’s, 1C, 1A. They gave Ohio an overall grade of F. The ALA’s Ohio annual healthcare cost due to smoking is $5,647,310,236. And the last number I will share is the high school tobacco use rate. It is 36.70%. That is staggering.

What do we do with a diagnosis like this? Our primary care physician would certainly voice their concern about the state of our condition.  We must use our voice and share our concern about the condition of the health of Ohio. We need to let our local elected officials know our concerns and most importantly, let our state and federal elected officials know these outcomes are not acceptable. We have the right and responsibility to hold them accountable.  Ohio’s health will not improve if we simply hope for better outcomes.

2023-03-28T15:18:18-04:00February 6th, 2023|Bruce Barcelo, Uncategorized|

2023 Brimming With Optimism!

An Article by Bruce Barcelo

Happy New Year!  There is nothing I would rather do than submit an article this month to 2023 brimming with optimism regarding youth vaping.  National survey numbers told us that youth vaping went down in 2021 but when youth returned to classrooms in the fall of 2021 the conversations, I was having with school administrators from around the country certainly didn’t reflect that. Florida data recently released shows that vaping/tobacco incidents almost doubled in this past school year.

If we look at the sales numbers of e-cigarettes, we might better understand the youth epidemic. Zero percent of disposable e-cigarettes had the highest level of nicotine in 2017, today 90% have the highest level of nicotine.  Nearly half of the high school students who vape do so daily. A number that doesn’t make any sense, the prices for vaping products with nicotine strengths that had a low nicotine level (1-2%), increased in prices ($10.40-$29.20). Products with high nicotine levels (4-5%) dropped ($12.80-$10.10). Why this is so concerning is that youth are price sensitive. The market moved to higher nicotine-level products with a cheaper cost for one reason.

So where do we turn for our New Year’s inspiration? Let us turn to the remarkable citizens of Ohio, who when it looked like Big Tobacco had used all its massive weight to sway politicians to potentially dismantle not only the Columbus flavor ban, but tobacco prevention efforts made around the state, it was you who called and wrote the governor to ask him to veto this effort. Today, Ohio is stronger because we stood together and weathered this storm. It is now a new year and together, we will battle because our youth need our support.

2023-03-28T15:31:19-04:00January 23rd, 2023|Bruce Barcelo, Uncategorized|
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