Former Legislator Receives Top National Award for Lung Health Advocacy
(June 26, 2017) -
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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – On Friday, June 23, Springfield resident and former Illinois state legislator William “Bill” Kempiners was awarded the prestigious Will Ross Medal from the American Lung Association at their annual awards banquet at the O’Hare Hilton in Chicago.
“Bill Kempiners is most deserving of the American Lung Association’s most prestigious Will Ross Medal,” said Erika Sward, assistant vice president, national advocacy for the Lung Association in the nomination. “Much of the current success and strength of the American Lung Association’s advocacy program can be traced to the quiet leadership of Bill Kempiners, which led to big policy wins that have benefited millions of Americans.”
Director of Public Health for the state of Illinois, and the Executive Director of the Illinois Health Care Association, Kempiners brought tremendous experience to the Lung Association. Under his chairmanship of the Advocacy Committee, Advocacy Day greatly expanded nearly doubling from 64 participants in his first year. Ultimately, it grew to more than 100 participants from 42 states in 2013. Kempiners’ vision laid the groundwork for the successful 50-state, 125-participant LUNG FORCE Advocacy Day in 2016.
During his tenure as Advocacy Committee Chair, the Lung Association achieved several significant victories that will improve lung health and help prevent lung disease. The committee reviewed and revised all of their public policy positions. He led a process of engaging outside experts from state government, environmental organizations, academia and Lung Association regional staff in a series of workshops to undertake a comprehensive review of energy topics related to electricity, transportation and heating that resulted in the American Lung Association’s first comprehensive Public Policy Position on Energy.
The Will Ross Medal is the highest honor bestowed on a volunteer from the American Lung Association who has made a significant contribution to the prevention and control of lung disease. The award is given in memory of Will Ross, a Wisconsin industrialist, a former tuberculosis patient, and one of the Lung Association's most dedicated volunteers who served as the first non-medical President of the Association from 1945-1946.
The American Lung Association in Illinois is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease, through research, education and advocacy. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to improve the air we breathe; to reduce the burden of lung disease on individuals and their families; and to eliminate tobacco use and tobacco-related diseases. For more information about the American Lung Association, a holder of the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Guide Seal, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit: .