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Volume 9, Issue 2
Quarter 3 2015

Providing Support To Local Organizations: Update On NHLBI'S COPD Learn More Breathe Better® Subcontractor Program

The COPD Learn More Breathe Better® Subcontractor Program, funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), is underway for nine organizations across the country. They are embarking on a variety of activities to address high prevalence rates and the burden of COPD in their communities. The program began in April and will continue through the end of October.

The current subcontractor program is categorized into two levels: Level 1 to plan and implement a COPD State Action Plan and Level 2 to execute events to increase the volume of discussion around COPD.

Read on to learn more about the subcontractors' projects:

Level 1:

American Lung Association of the Mid-Atlantic in Virginia: The American Lung Association of the Mid-Atlantic in Virginia is developing a state action plan for the state of Virginia. The plan is based on a robust needs assessment and stakeholder identification exercise.

American Lung Association in Nevada: The American Lung Association in Nevada is taking a three-phase approach to develop a state action plan to address the prevalence of COPD in the state, including discovery, prescription, and implementation. The American Lung Association in Nevada is also putting emphasis on low social-economic status (SES) residents of the state who are more prone to COPD than those of higher SES.

Breathe New Hampshire: Breathe New Hampshire is advancing the existing state action plan with a unique, forward-looking approach. They also are working on developing a COPD stakeholder network in New Hampshire, convening several groups in the health system to address COPD in the area.

COPD Foundation: The COPD Foundation is focusing on Tennessee and is establishing a COPD Advisory Committee that combines multiple organizations from different regions within the state to develop the action plan. Tennessee has one of the highest rates of COPD prevalence in the country at 8.7 percent.

North Carolina COPD Taskforce: The North Carolina COPD Taskforce's state action plan outlines a two-state approach — with the inclusion of South Carolina. Experts in the Carolinas will develop different elements of the plan that incorporate patient perspectives as well as the expertise of state asthma alliances in both states.

Level 2:

American Lung Association in Georgia: On September 10, the American Lung Association in Georgia will conduct a day-long LUNG FORCE Expo in the Atlanta metro area, providing patients and healthcare professionals in the state with information and resources about COPD.

American Lung Association in Mississippi: The American Lung Association in Mississippi is planning for a day-long LUNG FORCE Expo in the Jackson, Miss., metro area in October. The event will provide patients and healthcare professionals in the state with information and resources about COPD.

American Lung Association in Missouri: The American Lung Association in Missouri will conduct two day-long lung summits in southeast Missouri for COPD patients, caregivers, health care providers, and the general public interested in learning more about the disease. One event was held on August 5 and the second event will take place on September 24.

FirstHealth of the Carolinas: FirstHealth of the Carolinas' plan for a series of events includes special attention on the American Indian population, which CDC BRFSS (Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System) data show is at a higher risk for COPD than other ethnic groups. That's why FirstHealth of the Carolinas is partnering with the North Carolina American Indian Health Board (NCAIHB) to reach this group.


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Courtesy of the COPD Foundation:

COPD9USA Recap: Convening Experts To Improve Outcomes


In early June, the COPD Foundation was pleased to host nearly 500 attendees at COPD9USAimage of external icon, the third installment of the U.S. COPD Conferences Series. This unique event featured cutting edge clinical, care delivery, and research sessions, all focused on how to improve outcomes for individuals with COPD. In-demand topics, including strategies for reducing COPD readmissions, managing comorbid conditions, the role of CT imaging in diagnosing and treating COPD, the future of therapeutic development, and more were addressed in unique interactive session formats.

COPD9USA participants represented a diverse group of perspectives within the COPD community and included physicians and advanced practitioners, nurses and respiratory therapists, patients, caregivers, technology solutions providers, pharmaceutical and equipment manufacturers, and others who have a vested interest in COPD management and research. On June 5, more than 70 patients, caregivers, and family members from the Chicago area joined the conference to learn and interact with the COPD9USA faculty.

Recognizing the critical role that young investigators play in long-term patient care, COPD9USA included a pilot program to highlight young investigators and integrate them into the conference. Based on review of abstracts, seven young investigators were selected to receive the awards at COPD9USA. These seven individuals were recognized at the conference and will be the lead authors on the COPD9USA CME-accredited enduring material.

The enduring material is planned for publication in Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Diseases: Journal of the COPD Foundation in January 2016 ( It will be accredited for category 1 CME and will include a variety of topics including Overlap Syndromes in COPD, pulmonary rehabilitation, biomarkers, and interventional options in COPD, and past, present, and future therapies in COPD. Slide presentations and select audio recordings from the conference will be made available at the conference websiteimage of external icon as part of the enduring material.

The COPDUSA conference series is modeled after the very successful European COPD Conferences Series, established by Drs. Robert Stockley and Sue Hill in 1998. The US conferences are held in odd years and the UK conferences are held in even calendar years. COPD10USA scheduled to be held in Chicago in 2017 and information on COPD10USA will be available on the website by early 2016. In addition, if you are interested in attending COPD10 scheduled for June 2016 in Birmingham, UK, visit www.copdconferences.orgimage of external icon for details.


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COPD Awareness Levels Growing But Many Remain Undiagnosed

Who Knew?

Americans are becoming more aware of the third leading cause of death in the United States, according to latest data released by the NHLBI. About 70 percent of American adults say they are familiar with COPD, up from 2013. But the increased level of awareness is in stark contrast to diagnosis levels: It is estimated that more than 24 million Americans are affected by COPD but half of them are undiagnosed.

One-third of people living with the symptoms of COPD are not talking about them during their medical visits, which may contribute to a delay in diagnosis. Signs of COPD often are brushed off as signs of getting a cold and during the warmer months, some may assume it is allergies or normal signs of getting older.

People under 45 make up the majority of those who have not spoken with their health care provider about their symptoms. The disease most often occurs in people age 40 and older with a history of smoking. However, according to data from CDC's BRFSS survey, as many as 1 in 4 people with COPD have never smoked. Risk factors also include long-term exposure to substances that can irritate the lungs or a genetic predisposition called alpha-1 antitrypsin — AAT — deficiency. There is a big opportunity to improve the quality of life for people living with COPD through early intervention.

To learn more about the signs and symptoms of COPD, and what you can do to increase your quality of life, visit

The NHLBI analyzed the results of the annual HealthStyles survey of public health attitudes, knowledge, practices, and lifestyle habits among a nationally-representative sample of US adults, conducted each year by Porter Novelli, the communications contractor for the NHLBI's COPD Learn More Breathe Better campaign. The latest survey results represent a sample of 4,530 US adults with a margin of error of 1.45 percentage points; the survey was conducted in the summer of 2014.


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COPD Conversations Online

COPD word cloud=

The community discussing COPD on Facebook and Twitter is highly engaged. Specifically on Facebook, patients, caregivers, and health care professionals are sharing their stories and commenting on the symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment options. This word cloud shows most recent comments on the COPD Learn More Breathe Better Facebook Page. The larger the word, the more frequently it has been used in comments.

Check us out on Facebookimage of external icon and Twitter @BreatheBetterimage of external icon and join our discussions!

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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 would love to include you in a feature story! Email us at and let us know what you're doing to raise COPD awareness.

And, if you weren't aware, the Program also has a Facebook pageimage of external icon where you can see new activity. Check it out and become a fan of the Program's page.

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