Press Release

September 16, 2005



SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – The Illinois Department of Public Health, in collaboration with the Illinois Asthma Partnership, Illinois Public Health Association and Oakton Community College, is sponsoring the second annual Beat Asthma in Illinois Conference on Monday (Sept. 19) and Tuesday (Sept. 20) at the Northfield Inn, Suites and Conference Center in Springfield.

The two-day conference will provide education on the latest issues in asthma and offer plenary sessions, breakout sessions, networking opportunities and specialized symposiums on asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Topics will include linking health and environmental hazards, reducing exposure to tobacco, athletes and asthma and asthma and pregnancy. Media is welcome to attend the sessions.

Asthma is a chronic condition characterized by inflammation of the airways in the lungs and by the spasm of muscles surrounding these airways. Inflammation occurs when irritated tissues swell and produce extra mucus, creating a condition known as bronchoconstriction. The combination of the two can cause constriction or complete blockage of the airways and can initiate symptoms of an asthma attack. Symptoms of an asthma attack can include wheezing, coughing, chest tightness and shortness of breath.

Asthma prevalence has been increasing over the past 20 years. Currently asthma affects an estimated 20 million persons in the United States. In 2003, it was estimated that 11 percent (an estimated 1,044,936 people) of the adults in Illinois have suffered or currently suffer from asthma. Though there is no cure for asthma at this time, it can be controlled by ongoing medical care, including a management plan developed by a health care provider, proper medication, avoidance of triggers, and good health habits. Approximately 165 people, including asthma and health educators, nurses, pharmacists, public health professionals and respiratory therapists, are expected to attend the conference.

The conference will be from 9:15 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday and 7:45 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Tuesday. Highlights include:


11 a.m. to noon Environmental Public Health Tracking: Linking Health and Environmental Hazards, Lloyd Evans, B.S., L.E.H.P., Illinois Department of Public Health

12:05 to 1 p.m. Local Asthma Awareness in Children, Carolyn DeWerff, R.N., and Brenda Johnson, R.N., B.S.N., Montgomery County Health Department

1:15 p.m. to 2:15 p.m. Illinois Adults with Asthma, What do we Know About Them: Information from BRFSS, Bruce Steiner, M.S., Illinois Department of Public Health


7:45 a.m. to 8:15 a.m. Reducing Home Triggers for Asthma: The Latino Community Health Worker Approach, Molly Martin, M.D., M.A.P.P., Rush University Medical Center

12:15 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. Asthma and Chronic Respiratory Diseases, Joseph Q. Henkle, M.D., director of Pulmonary Medicine, Southern Illinois University School of Medicine

The complete conference schedule can be viewed at the Illinois Public Health Association’s Web site at

idph online home
idph online home

Illinois Department of Public Health
535 West Jefferson Street
Springfield, Illinois 62761
Phone 217-782-4977
Fax 217-782-3987
TTY 800-547-0466
Questions or Comments