We are greatly saddened by the passing of Mr Ron Brittain AM, who died on 27 March 2017. Ron was one of the founders of the National Asthma Council Australia (NAC), or the National Asthma Campaign as it then was, when a group of experts and asthma stakeholder representatives came together in the late 1980s to take action on asthma because of the high and increasing number of asthma deaths. At that time, Ron was the CEO of the Asthma Foundation of NSW, a position he held from 1982 until 1997, and was one of the early group developing the first national consumer campaigns that led to the formation of our organisation.
Ron had a long background in health issues, having been the CEO of the Autistic Children’s Association of NSW in the early days of the recognition of autism. He had a great understanding of the patient’s viewpoint and needs.
His work for the Asthma Foundation of NSW was well known and admired. He spent much time increasing funding for asthma research as, at that time, the Asthma Foundation was the largest funder of asthma research outside the NHMRC. Under his guardianship, the Asthma Foundation funded the first asthma educator position in NSW, and probably Australia, at Royal North Shore Hospital.
Ron served on the Board of the NAC until 1997 as Director, Treasurer, and as its second Chairman, the only layperson to serve as such. He was an absolutely dedicated and hardworking board member and represented the NAC in 1996 in Amsterdam at an early meeting of the former International Asthma Council. He received an AM in recognition of his services for asthma.
We cannot thank him enough for his kind, courteous, constructive and wise counsel.