To see more photos from Country Conquers COPD in Arizona click here.
This year's series of COPD Learn More Breathe Better® campaign Country Conquers COPD™ events are underway! The first stop was the Country Thunder music festival in Florence, Arizona on April 14-17. The festival offered an opportunity to deliver educational messages about the signs and symptoms of COPD and encourage those at risk to talk with their health care provider about diagnosis and treatment.
Almost two dozen of country music's greatest acts, including Keith Urban, Miranda Lambert and Kid Rock, took the stage over 3 days before an estimated 60,000 attendees. We were joined by the COPD Foundation, who conducted mobile spirometry screenings, and the American Lung Association in Arizona, who provided important information about COPD.
More than 7,000 people stopped by our booth at the event for information on COPD and almost 600 were screened for COPD with a spirometry test. Campaign staff and volunteers handed out COPD fact sheets and Country Conquers COPD bags, which proved to be a huge hit with concert-goers. Thousands stopped by to check out the Gibson Guitar Tour Bus with its interactive guitar stations and to enter for their chance to win an acoustic Gibson guitar courtesy of this campaign supporter.
Special thanks to Gibson, as well as to the COPD Foundation, American Lung Association in Arizona and the many volunteer respiratory therapists and students who helped to make this event a success!
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State-based action to combat COPD has been gaining momentum recently among Breathe Better Network Members, COPD Learn More Breathe Better® Community Partner Subcontractors and across the country with the formation of State COPD Coalitions. On April 20th, the Maryland COPD Coalition held its first COPD Summit, bringing together more than 75 stakeholders, including patients, physicians, respiratory therapists, nurses, employers, insurers and state health officials. Participants addressed the burden of COPD and formulated a State Action Plan to help guide comprehensive efforts to combat COPD in Maryland.
The Maryland COPD Coalition was created with the help of leadership from the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (MDHMH), the COPD Foundation and the American Lung Association of Maryland.
The Summit's morning session featured brief presentations highlighting a variety of perspectives on COPD. Patients, providers, State and Federal health officials, insurers and managed care representatives all had the opportunity to discuss the impact of COPD, not only on those diagnosed with the disease, but on the community at large.
Speakers included James P. Kiley, Ph.D., Director of the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute's Division of Lung Diseases; Grace Ann Dorney Koppel, a COPD patient advocate; and Francis Phillips, MDHMH Deputy Secretary for Public Health.
During the afternoon session, attendees participated in small breakout groups and provided feedback on the State COPD Action Plan. Breakout groups focused on community (COPD education and awareness), health care (diagnosis, treatment and management), data and surveillance, and purchasers/payers (insurance benefits, wellness programs and others).
Following the Summit, Maryland COPD Coalition members will incorporate the recommendations and issue the final Maryland COPD State Action Plan. With the State Action Plan as a guide, the COPD community can begin to help reduce the burden of COPD in Maryland and improve the lives of COPD patients.
St. Mary's COPD team (l to r): Julie Day, RN; Cheryl Shipley, RRT; and MaryLou Duron, RN
The COPD Learn More Breathe Better® campaign was introduced to MaryLou Duron, COPD project director/educator at St. Mary's Hospital in Decatur, Illinois, late last year when St. Mary's joined the Campaign's Breathe Better Network. Shortly after moving to Decatur in August 2008, Duron's five-year-old daughter was diagnosed with reactive airway disease—a precursor to asthma. "Watching my daughter trying to catch her breath was one of the most terrifying moments of my life. Our pediatrician told us that living in a farming community, which also has heavy industry, escalates breathing issues—especially during harvest time. And then the light bulb went on, I noticed how many people in Decatur were wearing oxygen. I didn't want to see anyone struggle for breath again."
Seeing Duron's passion for this issue, a colleague connected her with Cheryl Shipley, a registered respiratory therapist and facilitator of St. Mary's Breath of Life Club, a monthly COPD support group. With the addition of Julie Day, a registered nurse working in quality management, St. Mary's Hospital's Integrated COPD Outreach Project was born. Since its creation, the group has grown to six physicians, five nurses and two respiratory therapists determined to change the way COPD is addressed in the Central Illinois region.
"We have been very lucky to receive strong support from our administration in terms of raising awareness among at-risk populations and physicians," says Duron. St. Mary's collaborates with partners on a variety of projects, including conducting COPD research, providing a monthly educational COPD series and facilitating radio programming on COPD. Additionally, St. Mary's is obtaining COPD disease-specific certification through the Joint Commission, a not-for-profit organization which accredits and certifies health care organizations and programs throughout the United States.
St. Mary's Hospital continues to utilize resources provided through the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute's COPD Learn More Breathe Better campaign to educate the surrounding community about COPD. The hospital currently provides the Campaign's educational video to COPD patients and is also placing COPD Learn More Breathe Better Resource Kits in all physician offices.
Through St. Mary's Hospital, the word is also spreading about the Breath of Life Club and its membership is growing. If there is one piece of advice Duron could provide to those working to promote COPD awareness, it is to find people who are passionate about what you're working on. Duron also expressed that, "Cheryl Shipley's and Julie Day's deep passion and concern for COPD patients is the driving force behind this project. Similarly, it's the enthusiasm of all our partners for our community's welfare that has allowed us to accomplish so much in such a short amount of time."
Last October, the COPD Learn More Breathe Better® campaign formalized its partnership network and launched the Breathe Better Network. Since then, Network partners have been steadily at work spreading awareness about COPD and in doing so, have expanded the Campaign's reach. The Network continues to see growth and in the past several months has added four new organizations to its ranks:
Breathe California Golden Gate Health Partnership
Breathe California Golden Gate Health Partnership is the third organization under the "Breathe" umbrella to join the Network, joining its counterparts Breathe California of Los Angeles County and Breathe New Hampshire. For more than 100 years, the Partnership has been dedicated to fighting lung disease, advocating for clean air and promoting public health in its local communities.
World Health Organization
As the directing and coordinating authority for health within the United Nations system, the World Health Organization is responsible for providing leadership on global health matters, shaping the health research agenda, setting norms and standards, articulating evidence-based policy options, providing technical support to countries and monitoring and assessing health trends.
St. Mary's Hospital — Leonardtown, MD
St. Mary's Hospital is a full-service hospital, delivering state-of-the-art emergency, acute inpatient, and outpatient care. The hospital recently opened the Grace Anne Dorney Pulmonary & Cardiac Rehabilitation Center, which provides pulmonary and cardiac rehabilitative services designed to limit the effects of illness, prevent future recurrences or medical complications and maximize the ability to participate in daily tasks.
Clopton Clinic Charitable Foundation
The Clopton Clinic Charitable Foundation is the latest addition to the Breathe Better Network. The Foundation is located in Jonesboro, AR and frequently attends a variety of health fairs to educate the public about COPD and provide spirometry screenings.
Please join the COPD Learn More Breathe Better campaign in welcoming these new Breathe Better Network members! If you know of a group or organization that might be a strong addition to the Network, please let us know.
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