The COPD Learn More Breathe Better® Campaign is moving forward full steam ahead with plans for the fall! From continuously upgrading our website, to supporting statewide planning efforts, to preparing an updated offering to support COPD Awareness Month -- there are new activities underway as we move into the summer months.
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The Orange County Health Department is teaming up with The American Lung Association of Florida to present a COPD Community Forum to educate Orlando area residents about COPD. The forum, scheduled to take place today, is also the first step toward the development of a regional COPD coalition.
“Our goal moving forward is to get key individuals and agencies involved in creating a regional COPD Coalition that can expand on the existing awareness efforts and make it possible for larger all-day COPD awareness events like this one to occur across Orange County and the surrounding region,” said Jim Cundiff, Central Area Program Director for the American Lung Association of Florida.
Over 100 residents of Orange County and surrounding areas are expected to attend. The COPD Learn More Breathe Better® slide deck and educational video will be presented by Dr. Ritu Badola an Orlando based family physician. Following the presentation, Dr. Badola will moderate “Barriers to Care,” a panel discussion featuring executives from the Florida Hospital System and healthcare plan providers. The panel will address challenges related to coverage for treatment of COPD and proposed solutions.
The Miami, Florida-based COPD Foundation is also a partner in the day’s events. The Foundation’s Mobile Screening Unit (MSU) will be on hand offering free lung function testing at the forum.
The forum has been heavily promoted throughout the region. “All of the great planning and coordinating efforts are for nothing if no one bothers to show up,” Cundiff said. “We felt it was just as important to put as much effort into promoting the event as we did to put it together.”
To help publicize the event, the “It Has a Name” poster* was customized and distributed as a flier to the county health department’s offices and constituent agencies as well as local hospitals. The COPD Learn More Breathe Better® print PSA* was adapted to include event information and placed as an advertisement in several local newspapers and magazines. As a result of this promotional outreach, The Orlando Sentinel recently featured a story about COPD and promoted the forum on the online event calendar. In addition, all week Orange TV, a local government information cable channel is airing a segment promoting the forum on it’s Community Café program, reaching thousands of Brighthouse cable subscribers in Orange County.
American Lung Association of Central States, Austin, Texas
Lung disease is something Laura Chapman feels very a very personal connection with – her grandfather died of COPD after years of working in coal mines and her son has asthma. In 2001 she accepted a Regional Manager position with the American Lung Association of Texas in El Paso, where she began to learn more about COPD and the very real need for increased awareness throughout Texas.
“I thought, wouldn’t it be wonderful if people with COPD could get an early diagnosis and do more to control the disease in its early stages,” Laura said, “so I made it a project and found the funding.”
Her ‘project’ was a COPD awareness campaign in Central Texas. Laura coordinated annual activities during COPD Awareness Month, including lung function screenings, informative dinner presentations for patients, healthcare conferences, and mayoral proclamations in surrounding cities. Today, she is expanding her efforts statewide by convening key leaders in the COPD community to form a Texas COPD Coalition which will be tasked with the development and implementation of a statewide COPD strategic action plan.
As a first step in this process, Laura helped to organize a COPD Statewide Summit which was held on June 21 in Austin. Over 100 health providers, patients, and caregivers attended the event. James P. Kiley, PhD, Director of the Division of Lung Disease at NHLBI, gave the keynote address and COPD Learn More Breathe Better® fact sheets were distributed.
Members of the Texas state coalition will begin meeting in the fall to review outcomes and recommendations from the summit. They will then begin to draft the Texas Strategic Plan which is set to be released in early 2009.
“I love what I do and it’s the amazing group of dedicated volunteers I had that made all this possible!” Laura said. “After Texas, we hope this program will expand to the other central states and they too will have state COPD plans.”
For more information visit www.breathehealthy.org.
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