The AMERICAN LUNG ASSOCIATION OF NORTHERN OHIO, formerly known as the Northern Ohio Lung Association, was founded in 1904 and formally organized on March 3, 1905 as the Anti-Tuberculosis League, which fought tuberculosis (TB) before expanding its work in the 1960s to other respiratory diseases. With Dr. John H. Lowman as the first president, the group aimed to prevent and cure TB by coordinating the work of local agencies, through research into the nature and causes of TB, and by educating the public. In 1904 the league sponsored a survey that revealed that tuberculosis was responsible for ten percent of the deaths in Cleveland.
On October 6, 1904, in collaboration with Western Reserve University (later CASE WESTERN RESERVE UNIV), it opened in the Medical College building at Erie (East 9th) Street and St. Clair Avenue, which served 785 patients in 1908. Along with the City of Cleveland Health Department, the league opened a day camp for TB patients in July 1910. In 1924 it financed a dispensary in a neighborhood of AFRICAN AMERICANS, staffed by black medical personnel. In 1908 the league began to sell American Red Cross Christmas Seals; by 1918 the proceeds from sales of the seals supported seven dispensaries, an open-air school, an a tent colony for infected children. At the league's urging, the city's Health Department (see CLEVELAND BOARD OF HEALTH) made TB a reportable disease in 1907, and in 1911 established a city Bureau of Tuberculosis. Together the league and the Health Department launched a campaign for improved housing conditions, and in 1910 the league supported a successful $250,000 bond issue to finance construction of a sanatorium for TB patients.
During the 1920s, the Anti-Tuberculosis League sponsored a number of health surveys in the Cleveland area. In 1935 it began to use mobile fluoroscopes to take chest x-rays. By 1948 it opened three mobile x-ray clinics. By 1970 such x-ray surveys had been supplemented by a skin test. Active TB cases declined annually in Greater Cleveland, from 546 reported cases in 1959 to 320 in 1968. The league then expanded to other respiratory diseases, especially those related to smoking, such as emphysema, and also worked to combat air pollution. It became the Tuberculosis & Respiratory Disease Assn. in April 1969, and in 1973 was renamed the Northern Ohio Lung Association. In 1983 the organization was renamed the American Lung Association to comply with national requirements to unify and strengthen its mission to fight lung disease. In 2005 the association continued to provide programs and services for the prevention of lung disease and promotion of lung health, including programs that addressed environmental health issues, supported research, helped people stop smoking and cope with asthma and other respiratory diseases. It also challenged the marketing and distribution efforts of the tobacco industry. At that time the American Lung Association of Northern Ohio was located at 6100 Rockside Woods Boulevard in Independence.
Finding aid for the Northern Ohio Lung Association Records, WRHS.
American Lung Association Website
See also MEDICINE; PUBLIC HEALTH.