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Volume 10, Issue 1
Quarter 1 2016


Do you want to help reduce the burden of COPD? Attend the COPD Town Hall Meeting where individuals with COPD, their families, and all COPD stakeholders will work together to create a COPD National Action Plan. The COPD National Action Plan will provide states across the country a unified and comprehensive plan to better diagnose, treat, and combat COPD.

In order to develop a strong National Action Plan, all COPD stakeholders are invited to join a special COPD Town Hall Meeting at the NIH Campus on Feb. 29 and Mar. 1 from 8:30a.m. to 4:30p.m. to help shape the plan. The success of a National Action Plan depends upon your participation. Your input is critical to shaping the specific goals that make up the COPD National Action Plan, as well as identifying the top initiatives and efforts the plan outlines to combat COPD.

During the Town Hall Meeting, each attendee will be invited to a working group and charged with developing objectives, strategies, and benchmarks for a specific goal (listed below). The recommendations of the working groups will directly inform the unified COPD National Action Plan.


COPD National Action Plan Goals:

  1. Empower patients, their families, and communities to recognize and reduce the burden of COPD
  2. Increase and sustain prevention, detection, diagnosis, treatment, and management of COPD
  3. Increase collaboration and coordination to sustain surveillance and evaluation to improve collection, analysis, dissemination, and reporting of COPD-related public health data
  4. Increase and sustain research to better understand prevention, pathogenesis, diagnosis, treatment, and management of COPD
  5. Increase awareness and sustain COPD education among stakeholders, decision makers, individuals with COPD, their families, caregivers, communities, and populations at risk
  6. Integrate recommended policy, educational, and program changes into the legislative, research, public health, and care delivery structures of the nation


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This National COPD Awareness Month, the COPD Learn More Breathe Better© (LMBB) campaign setoff to increase the conversation surrounding chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). During the month of November, Breathe Better Network (BBN) members and those with COPD, their loved ones, and caregivers joined together to help support this year's theme: raising voices for the millions with COPD who can't.

To assist BBN members from across the country in their efforts to raise COPD awareness, LMBB developed the 2015 Breathe Better Network Toolkit, which included items such as a radio PSA, COPD Month talking points, suggested content and shareable images for social media, and COPD Month megaphones with important information for those who may be at risk for COPD. Breathe New Hampshire (BNH) used the toolkit items during a COPD screening that they hosted at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, as well as at an advocacy training they hosted on World COPD Day. BNH used the megaphones to show how they were raising their voices for COPD and shared their pictures through social media.

LMBB also raised voices for COPD through social media by encouraging BBN members, those with COPD, their loved ones, and health care providers to post messages on Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag, #Voices4COPD. Followers on Facebook shared their stories and pictures about family members and friends with COPD, gathering community support. To generate a large wave of social media messages, LMBB organized a Thunderclap to be released on World COPD Day. Over 200,000 people from around the world were exposed to the message, inspiring them to learn more about COPD. This year also marked the forth-annual Twitter Chat on World COPD Day. More than 75 people joined in on the conversation, allowing them to learn more about COPD.

Although National COPD Awareness Month has ended, don't let the conversation around COPD end there. Share your photos, videos, or news articles with us on Facebook or Twitter so we can continue raising our voices for COPD all year round!


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NHLBI's COPD Learn More Breathe Better Program Wraps up Subcontract Partnerships

On Oct. 19, 2015, The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) closed its third subcontract period, funded by the NHLBI's COPD Learn More Breathe Better (LMBB) program. The subcontract program featured nine organizations from across the country, split into two groups with two different goals: 1) to develop a COPD state action plan and 2) execute an event in their region to raise the volume of discussion around COPD.

The five organizations that developed state action plans included the American Lung Association in Virginia, Breathe New Hampshire, the COPD Foundation (focusing in Tennessee), the North Carolina COPD Taskforce (conducting plans in North Carolina and South Carolina) and the American Lung Association in Nevada. They were joined by four organizations holding COPD-related events: the American Lung Association in Georgia, the American Lung Association in Missouri, the American Lung Association in Mississippi and FirstHealth of the Carolinas.

After each group provided a robust, detailed plan of action, these organizations spent the six-month period working tirelessly to build relationships with stakeholders in their states, developing materials and convening groups to complete their projects. For example, Breathe New Hampshire has released their state action plan and plans to continue to recruit stakeholders for its implementation. Additionally, the North Carolina COPD Taskforce presented their state plans during their North Carolina COPD Symposium in November.

Congratulations to all of our subcontract partners on a job well done. We hope these subcontracts have only started the projects for these organizations and we look forward to their continued success.


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Study shows awareness of COPD and health outcomes

For the last nine years NHLBI has conducted research through primary research to understand HCP and consumer sentiment regarding COPD. There are several positive pieces of news from this year's data that are worth a deeper dive.

The first piece of great news is that COPD awareness continues to be on the rise. In 2009, the first year of tracking, just over two-thirds of the U.S. general population (68%) was aware of COPD. That number has now increased to nearly eight-in-ten adults (78%) and is a broad-based increase across all regions and demographics. This increase in awareness significant because it translates to so many more Americans who know about and talk about COPD, the third leading cause of death in the United States.

The second finding is even more impactful from a health outcomes standpoint, and is simplified in the infographic shown below. Based on our 2015 research, we find among those who are symptomatic (have a constant cough, wheezing, or shortness of breath), about three-quarters (75%) have spoken to their doctor about their breathing issues. When they do, we found those patients were likely to have at least two positive health outcomes, such as receiving a prescription, taking a breathing test (like spirometry), or discussing COPD.

This second finding is impactful because it shows the real impact that talking about COPD can have on each individual - getting on the road to treatment, receiving medication to improve life quality, and getting diagnosed and cared for. We will continue to monitor and share these research outcomes in future newsletters.

Study shows awareness of COPD and health outcome


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COPD Learn More Breathe Better

In October 2009, the COPD Learn More Breathe Better program formalized its partnership network and launched the Breathe Better Network. The Network continues to grow and recently added a new organization to its ranks:

Heritage Victor Valley Medical Groupimage of external icon
The Heritage Victor Valley Medical Group is a California-based medical group and accountable care organization that offers coordinated care across Southern California's High Desert and Mountain Communities. The organization has recently completed the Better Breather's Facilitation training and will be meeting with the ALA on a weekly basis to discuss partnership opportunities. The medical group is joining the Breathe Better Network as a core partner and, among other activities, will be sharing COPD Learn More Breathe Better resources and educational materials with its network.

Please join the COPD Learn More Breathe Better program in welcoming this new Breathe Better Network member! If you know of a group or organization that might be a strong addition to the Network, please let us know by sending an email to

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We Want to Hear From You!

If there is an outstanding member of your team that you want to recognize, or if your organization is working on a project that you think should be included in the next COPD Learn More Breathe Better Update, we want to hear from you. Email us at and let us know what you're doing to raise COPD awareness.

And, if you weren't aware, the Campaign also has an updated Facebook pageimage of external icon where you can see new activity including videos from Breathe Better Network activity during National COPD Awareness Month. Check it out and become a fan of the Campaign's page.

That's not all! You can follow the Campaign @BreatheBetterimage of external icon on Twitter and join the conversation.