Birmingham Clean Air Initiative

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The Birmingham Clean Air Initiative was a coordinated effort to address the public health effect of environmental air pollution in the Birmingham area.

The partnership was launched in May 2012 with a $100,000 grant from Dell and F. Dixon Brooke Jr that was matched by funding from the UAB School of Medicine. Other partners in the initiative included the UAB School of Public Health, the UAB Department of Environmental Health Sciences, the American Lung Association, the Jefferson County Health Department, the Southern Environmental Center at Birmingham-Southern College, the Southern Environmental Law Center, and the advocacy group GASP.

The aims of the initiative included organizing research on the health impacts of air pollution worldwide and on treatments for lung diseases related to environmental pollution such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and pulmonary fibrosis. Engineering studies supported by the partnership planned to develop diagnostic devices, similar to a breathalyzer, to screen for bio-markers of lung disease. The group also proposed symposia and public campaigns educated the public about the dangers of exposure to polluted air.

The Clean Air Initiative sponsored a one-day multidisciplinary symposium on Environmental Lung Health Education and Research on September 21, 2012. Before the program began, new UAB president Ray Watts instructed planners that the Southern Environmental Law Center would not be permitted to participate. Watts had been scheduled to welcome participants with a short address entitled "Why UAB is Involved in the Clean Air Initiative". Victor Thannickal replaced him, delivering the same address.

UAB disbanded the Birmingham Clean Air Initiative immediately following the symposium.