Mark your calendars! The American Academy of Family Physicians’ (AAFP) Scientific Assembly will be held September 17-21 in San Diego, California. As part of “The Faces of Disease” plenary session, where celebrity speakers including Patty Duke and Sally Field will share their personal stories of living and thriving with a chronic disease, Grace Anne Dorney Koppel will discuss her own experience with COPD. The plenary session will be held Thursday, September 18 at 9:00 am. Click here for more information.
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The July issue of Today’s Chicago Woman highlights Grace Anne Dorney Koppel’s experience with COPD and her concerns for women’s lung health. Koppel also discusses the importance of spirometry and early detection. The magazine reaches 70,000 readers.
During the past year, many states have taken steps to make COPD a priority on the public health agenda. Since advocates are facing similar challenges as they work to raise awareness of the disease and implement state plans, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute’s COPD Learn More Breathe Better® campaign hosted a knowledge sharing teleconference on July 24.
The goals were to bring representatives from across the states together, and to provide an interactive forum for sharing success stories, asking questions, and working together to provide solutions. Representatives from three states—Illinois, Texas and Arizona—shared their experience with convening coalitions, strategic planning, implementation and ongoing outreach. Other topics, including coordinating successful public lung function screenings and the challenges of securing surveillance data, were also covered.
As the program manager for the Kentucky Department for Public Health’s Respiratory Disease Program, Connie Buckley knows first hand the devastation COPD can cause. Kentucky ranks first in the nation for smoking rates, and COPD-related hospitalizations run higher than the national average in almost every county in the state. Buckley also has a personal connection that fuels her passion—she lost her father and grandfather to the disease.
“COPD is a large problem here in Kentucky,” says Buckley, “and we need initiatives such as the COPD Learn More Breathe Better® campaign to help Kentuckians become more aware of COPD and to educate those who have it.”
Recognizing that need, the Kentucky House of Representatives passed a resolution in 2007 to address COPD and the Kentucky Department for Public Health’s Chronic Disease and Prevention division founded the Kentucky Respiratory Disease Program (KRDP). The goal of the program, which Buckley oversees, is to support the management and treatment of COPD and improve the quality of life for individuals living with the disease. With the founding of KRDP, Kentucky is one of the first states to dedicate a government staff position to focus on COPD awareness and prevention.
As the KRDP program manager, Buckley took on responsibility for developing a statewide plan to address COPD. Through a partnership with the American Lung Association, Buckley convened a COPD summit earlier this summer, where 40 partners came together to talk about specific goals and objectives. She is now in the process of writing the plan.
Buckley’s advice to others who are developing state plans? “Do a lot of communicating and collaborating with partners and the community. This will give you the opportunity to determine other COPD efforts in the state and have a clearer picture of what needs to be done. It will also help identify what some of the challenges might be.”
“KRDP also leans very heavily on primary partners to address the issue, including the American Lung Association and the Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Program. Through partnering, our program can grow in capacity and begin making changes that will actually have an impact on COPD.”
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