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Volume 7, Issue 1
Quarter 1 2013

New State Level Data a Breakthrough in Raising COPD Awareness

According to the latest results of the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey (BRFSS), 6.3 percent of adults in the United States — an estimated 15 million people — have been told they have Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) by a healthcare provider and, overall, women were more likely to report COPD than men (6.7 percent vs. 5.2 percent). The data also shows that COPD prevalence rates across the country vary widely — from less than 4 percent of the population in Washington and Minnesota to over 9 percent in Alabama and Kentucky.

The BRFSS is a state-based system of health surveys that collects information on health risk behaviors, preventive health practices, and health care access primarily related to chronic disease and injury. For many states, the BRFSS is the only available source of timely, accurate data on health-related behaviors. 2011 was the first year that the CDC collected data on COPD across all 50 states via BRFSS. This state-level data on COPD comes as the result of a partnership between the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI).

"Results such as these help inform and focus public health efforts at the national, state and community level and are a big step forward in educating all of us about COPD and its effect on our population," said James P. Kiley, Ph.D., Director of the Division of Lung Diseases at NHLBI.

Prevalence rates are just some of the COPD data available on a state level. In some states, the survey provides detail on diagnosis and quality of life trends for those living with COPD. Of those who reported they had COPD, 62.5 percent felt that symptoms adversely affected their quality of life; while 50.9 percent reported taking at least one daily medication to manage their COPD.

"Above all, these findings illustrate that we still have work to do to raise awareness about COPD, its diagnosis and management," said Kiley. "COPD can be well-controlled, but early diagnosis and treatment are critical to living a longer, healthier life."

To learn more about the results of the BRFSS survey, read the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.


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Breathe Better Network Members Help Lead COPD Awareness Efforts During National COPD Awareness Month

National COPD Awareness Month Toolkit
As part of ongoing efforts to raise awareness around Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), Breathe Better Network (BBN) members led the way toward engaging their communities during National COPD Awareness Month. Throughout the month of November, Network members from across the country held Better Breathers Club meetings, took part in health fairs, conducted free lung health screenings, and worked in their communities to hold rallies and conferences, to raise awareness of COPD — the nation's third leading cause of death. COPD Learn More Breathe Better®, a public health education initiative of the National, Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), and Network members alike urged all those at risk to take the first step to breathing better, by learning more about COPD.

To assist Network members in their outreach activities, COPD Learn More Breathe Better (LMBB) developed the 2012 Breathe Better Network Toolkit which included LMBB radio and print PSAs, tips for placement, resources for outreach to local media and radio, event ideas and LMBB educational materials. The toolkit also included COPD Did You Know?, a fact sheet which shared important facts on COPD as well as easy steps to learn more about how to connect with the Campaign online and through social media.

One of those activities included a #BreatheBetter2012 Twitter Chat hosted by LMBB and the NHLBI, in conjunction with the American Lung Association external disclaimer, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the COPD Foundation. Thanks to Network participation, the first-ever COPD themed chat reached more than 825,000 people on Twitter, allowing them to learn more about COPD and making #BreatheBetter2012 a trending topic the day before World COPD Day.

From Hawaii's Great American Smokeout and World COPD Day Event to New Hampshire's World COPD Day Panel Discussion and Q&A Session; from Walk with a Doc and the Living Well with COPD Conference in California to the Language of Lungs Community Health Fair and the Living Better Together with COPD Conference in Illinois; from Better Breathers Club meetings in Arizona, to COPD Awareness Days in Nebraska and Alabama, to Hall-O-Wheeze in West Virginia, Breathe Better Network members showed up in force to bring important information about COPD to those in their communities. If you reached out to your community or hosted an event during National COPD Awareness Month, it's not too late; we still want to hear from you! Send an email to Share your photos, videos or news articles with us, so we can share what you did to help make National COPD Awareness Month such a great success!


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COPD Foundation Hosts Upcoming COPD8USA Conference in Chicago

Courtesy of COPD Foundation

The www.copdfoundation.orgexternal disclaimer is hosting the COPD8USA Conference June 14-15, 2013 in Chicago, IL. It is a comprehensive, inter-professional medical education conference and is designed to improve the assessment, diagnosis, and management of patients with COPD to achieve optimal patient outcomes.

World-leading researchers in the field will be present at COPD8USA to give talks on the building blocks of COPD research, challenges in treatment, best practices for proper diagnosis and management of the disease, and addressing comorbidities. Three breakout tracks, research, care delivery and clinical will complement larger group plenary sessions.

The COPD Foundation is also partnering with the Respiratory Health Associationexternal disclaimer to host a Community Education Workshop for individuals with COPD at the same venue.

Stay tuned for more information about the Community Education Workshop and a soon to be announced pre-conference Summit on Reducing COPD Hospital Readmissions, a one-day meeting on June 13th, 2013 to explore the state-of-the-art in hospital readmission reduction strategies and to forge a collaborative path forward to advance research efforts in the field.

Visit www.copdconferencesusa.orgexternal disclaimer for information on all three meetings, registration and abstract submission. We hope to see a strong presence from Breathe Better Network members so we can learn, share and grow the collective voice of the COPD community.


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Spotlight On... Elise Fodor, RN, BSN and Sherry Courville, RN, BSN of Beaumont Health System (Royal Oak Campus)

Elise Fodor, RN, BSN

Elise Fodor, RN, BSN

Sherry Courville, RN, BSN

Sherry Courville, RN, BSN

Elise Fodor and Sherry Courville are registered nurses who specialize in COPD at Beaumont Health System'sexternal disclaimer Royal Oak campus. In just two short years, they have collaborated to lead the Royal Oak campus in making great strides in its commitment to COPD awareness and education.

In June 2010, Elise and Sherry worked to launch the Royal Oak campus' Pulmonary Mobility Unit. The Unit is part of an onsite COPD program geared toward improving outcomes for COPD patients. Elise and Sherry know the benefits of combining the powers of physical activity and knowledge to help those with COPD have a better quality of life. The Unit is specifically designed to utilize exercise and education to lessen the limitations placed on patients by their lung disease.

The duo continues to fuel their collective passion for working with those living with lung disease by serving on Beaumont's COPD Integration Team. As founding members of the Team, Elise and Sherry tend to COPD patients on a daily basis. Each patient they visit receives COPD and smoking cessation education and resources, advice on getting relevant vaccinations, and a step-by-step review of their medications and how to administer them. Elise and Sherry even go the extra mile by calling at least twice after a patient has been discharged to answer questions, provide additional resources, and encourage medication adherence and physician follow-up. Their approach has garnered notable positive feedback from patients who are now breathing easier.

Elise and Sherry are also active with the Midwest COPD Network, convened by the Respiratory Health Association of Metropolitan Chicago, where they first learned of the COPD Learn More Breathe Better® (LMBB) campaign. Thanks to this driven pair, Beaumont Health Systems now has a rising voice in the Breathe Better Network. They are also not afraid to roll up their sleeves to help those living with COPD — such as at last summer's Country Conquers COPD™ event at the 30th Annual Downtown Hoedown in Detroit where Elise and Sherry represented Beaumont in partnership with LMBB to educate people on COPD during the three-day festival.

The enthusiasm Elise and Sherry bring to their COPD education and treatment program efforts makes them model representatives of what it means to be members of the COPD Learn More Breathe Better campaign's Breathe Better Network.

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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 pageexternal disclaimer 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 @BreatheBetterexternal disclaimer on Twitter and join the conversation.