November is National COPD Awareness Month and 2010 is the Year of the Lung — what better time to have a conversation about COPD? While awareness of COPD has increased in recent years, there is still more work to be done. COPD affects one in five adults over the age of 45 — yet many still don't know that they could be at risk.
That is why this year the COPD Learn More Breathe Better® campaign, sponsored by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) is asking everyone to talk to someone about COPD. It only takes a second to have a simple conversation with a friend or loved one, who you think exhibits the symptoms of COPD, to open the door for them to learn more about the disease and talk to their doctor or health care provider. The campaign also is launching a new print and radio PSA series during this year's National COPD Awareness Month to begin to make the connection for the millions who waive off the COPD symptoms they experience everyday as a result of getting older or being out of shape.
In addition to the PSAs, the COPD Learn More Breathe Better campaign is also excited to bring you the 2010 Fall Outreach Toolkit to help facilitate those conversations and assist you in your own outreach efforts. The toolkit includes additional resources such as a short, reproducible tip list (to help guide your conversations with those you think could be at risk for COPD); a sample press release and letter to the editor to help increase the conversation around COPD and promote your group's activities; as well as an article to include in your organization's newsletter or other communications.
The campaign encourages Breathe Better Network members and all those who want to increase the dialogue on COPD during the month of November to utilize the toolkit and PSAs. Consider bringing a friend or loved one you think could be at risk to an event in your community, or hold your own event! Events can be as simple as hosting an informal discussion on COPD at a local community center or online. Or, you can take it one step further and hold a respiratory rally or a spirometry screening.
However you decide to reach out during National COPD Awareness Month, don't forget to share it with us. Register your events so we can post them to the events page. Tell us what your plans are and we'll promote them on Facebook and Twitter and share them with the greater COPD community!
|Receive quarterly e-newsletters about the COPD Learn More Breathe Better® campaign and lung research.|
To see more photos from Country Conquers COPD click here.
The COPD Learn More Breathe Better® campaign's Country Conquers COPD™ has been busy the past few months traveling to events throughout the South and Midwest to spread COPD awareness! Each 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.
The first stop was the Kentucky State Fair in Louisville, KY. On August 28th more than 2,000 people stopped by the Country Conquers COPD booth to talk with lung health experts about early diagnosis and treatment of COPD. Many of them also took home information to share with friends and family. We were joined by the Kentucky Respiratory Disease Program, the Kentucky Department of Health and US Wellness who helped provide over 200 free mobile spirometry screenings.
Next we headed to the Roots N Blues N BBQ Festival in Columbia, MO. On October 1-2nd over 20 different acts performed including top names in roots and blues like the Del McCoury Band and husband and wife team Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi. More than 3,500 people stopped by our tent for information on COPD and almost 200 were screened for COPD with a spirometry test. We were joined by members of the Missouri Society for Respiratory Care, who performed spirometry, and the American Lung Association of the Central States, who provided important information about COPD.
The final event of the season was the Chicago Country Music Festival on October 8-9th where country stars including Clint Black, Gretchen Wilson and Jewel packed two days full of free live performances. Campaign staff and volunteers provided important COPD information to more than 5500 people. With the help of the Respiratory Health Association of Metropolitan Chicago we screened over 330 people during the two day period!
Special thanks to the: Kentucky Respiratory Disease Program, Respiratory Health Association of Metropolitan Chicago, Missouri Society for Respiratory Care, American Lung Association of the Central States, COPD Foundation and the many volunteer respiratory therapists and students who helped to make these events a success!
Marie Boyle, new COPD Learn More Breathe Better® Project Director
We recently sat down with Marie Boyle, new project director for the COPD Learn More Breathe Better®, to learn a little more about her background and what drew her to working on COPD.
Tell us about your background in public health.
I have been involved with public health and health promotion for over eight years. Most recently I served as Team Lead at Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta. There, I managed a variety of health communication campaigns centered around the provision of health education and clinical health services, with emphasis on the prevention and early detection of chronic diseases and the improved management of lifestyle issues affecting health.
Prior to joining the federal government, I worked as a Community Health Manager for the Brookline Department of Health leading Brookline on the Move to promote physical activity and physical fitness among Brookline residents.
How did you become interested in working on COPD? Do you have a personal connection to the disease?
Personally, I am very vested in both the prevention and treatment of COPD. My father — a former smoker — has COPD and seeing him struggle with daily activities provides me with a deep purpose beyond just getting a message out.
Professionally, I think COPD is really important and exciting. Important because COPD affects the lives of so many — and exciting because awareness of the disease is growing and the message is beginning to reach those who need to hear it.
What do you think is the most important thing to communicate about COPD?
To help people better understand the signs and symptoms of COPD. I think too many people are living with COPD and don't even know it. My dad is a great example. He just assumed his chronic cough and shortness of breath was a result of being older and overweight. If more people knew that there are simple yet important steps they can take to live healthier with their COPD, I think more people would seek treatment and improve their overall quality of life.
What do you like to do outside of work?
Outside the office I enjoy anything that keeps me moving. I love to travel, the outdoors, running and most recently began competing in iron-distance triathlons. I also enjoy spending time with my husband and two Labrador Retrievers.
®, ™ COPD Learn More Breathe Better and Country Conquers COPD are trademarks of DHHS.
Tell us about you! Email us to let us know what your organization is doing on behalf of COPD awareness.