Paul G. Billings Receives American Lung Association’s Most Prestigious National Staff Award

Washington, D.C. (June 25, 2012)

Paul G. Billings
Paul G. Billings

2012 William J. Pfeifer
2012 Hoyt E. Dearholt
Distinguished Professional
Service Award Recipient

On Friday, June 22, at the American Lung Association Awards Ceremony in Wilmington, Del., the American Lung Association recognized Paul G. Billings as the recipient of its prestigious 2012 Hoyt E. Dearholt Distinguished Professional Service Award. The national award is the highest honor a staff member can receive from the organization and is presented annually to a staff member who has made significant and lasting contributions throughout their American Lung Association career.

“Paul’s passion for the mission of the American Lung Association and his tireless efforts to advance it are unsurpassed,” said Charles D. Connor, president and CEO of the American Lung Association. “He is an invaluable asset to our organization who is certainly worthy of our highest award.”

Billings currently serves as vice president of National Policy and Advocacy at the American Lung Association’s national headquarters. In his time with the American Lung Association since joining the organization in 1991, Billings has grown professionally from coordinator of Advocacy Field Services, where he worked to establish connections in state legislatures, to a member of the Lung Association’s national headquarters senior leadership team.

No single person has done more to shape the nationwide Lung Association’s modern advocacy program than Billings. He is largely responsible for founding the organization’s state government relations program, which significantly impacted its mission work in the 1990’s.

At the same time Billings was working to organize the Lung Association’s advocacy efforts at the state and local levels, he was also hard at work on federal tobacco control issues. His leadership helped the Lung Association become a key player in successfully ensuring the tobacco companies did not get blanket immunity from lawsuits, and he chaired a national group—comprised of public health, medical and faith groups—that was instrumental in the passage of the Tobacco Control Act, which at long last gave the U.S. Food and Drug Administration authority of manufactured tobacco products.

Additionally, he steered the Lung Association into the forefront of clean air advocacy as a leader in the fight to defend the Clean Air Act from those who would undermine it. He has continuously pushed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to clean up pollution, urging the agency to issue tough rules cleaning up emissions from various vehicular sources and to tighten controls on coal-fired power plants, which are among the largest sources of dangerous air pollutants in the nation.

“Paul is a strategic thinker and consummate professional who has earned the admiration and respect of his peers throughout his 20-year career with the Lung Association. This award is indicative of that,” said Connor.

The award honors the memory of Hoyt E. Dearholt, M.D., who was a pioneer of the anti-tuberculosis crusade of the early 1900’s. The story of his role in the build-up of Wisconsin’s tuberculosis control program, his willingness to share successful strategies with others working toward the same mission and the many examples of his devotion to finding and training capable young executives across the country, is one of a remarkable and unforgettable character and torch-bearer in the history of the American Lung Association.

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