COPD Foundation Receives Funding to Conduct COPD Education Efforts as Part of NHLBI Program

April 18, 2011

The National Heart Lung and Blood Institute's Learn More Breathe Better Campaign®
Continues to Expand Community Network 

WASHINGTON, DC—(April 18, 2011)—The COPD Foundation was one of nine organizations to receive funding from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), part of the National Institutes of Health, to improve awareness and understanding of COPD. The award is part of the NHLBI’s COPD Learn More Breathe Better® campaign and will be granted under the campaign’s communications contract with Porter Novelli. 

The COPD Foundation partnered with the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and several local academic and non-profit organizations to establish the Maryland COPD Coalition. The subcontract funding will allow the Maryland COPD Coalition to implement a section of the Maryland COPD State Action Plan focused on raising corporate awareness of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and helping the business community take action to improve the health of their employees.  

“We are honored to be one of the organizations chosen to receive this award,” John W. Walsh, co-founder and president of the COPD Foundation, says. “The COPD Foundation is strongly committed to raising awareness of COPD and looks forward to continuing education efforts.”

The program will be based in Maryland, Pennsylvania and Washington, DC. It will involve mentoring key stakeholders in Pennsylvania and DC on the best practices used by MD when it formed its COPD coalition. Stakeholders will also learn how to address the business community through the Healthiest Maryland Businesses Initiative.

“The health impact and cost of COPD should be of interest to the business community,” said John Miller, executive director of the MidAtlantic Business Group on Health. “We’re delighted to work with the Maryland COPD Coalition to help frame the message in terms that resonate with the business community.”

This new funding enables the COPD Foundation and the Maryland COPD Coalition to focus on such things as: the business case for COPD, recognizing risk factors, the benefits of early detection and treatment in slowing disease progression, and improving quality of life for individuals living with COPD in Maryland, DC and Pennsylvania. 

“COPD affects one in five people over age 45, and the earlier a person receives proper treatment, the better their chances to improve quality of life,” said James P. Kiley, Ph.D., director of the Division of Lung Diseases at the NHLBI. “We’re pleased to support the COPD Foundation as it carries forward important messages about the necessity of early detection and treatment.” 

Funds were awarded on a competitive basis, with a total of nine organizations receiving funding for proposed outreach efforts out of 20 organizations applying. All programs will be completed by February 2012.

About the COPD Foundation

The COPD Foundation is dedicated to developing and supporting programs which improve the quality of life through research, education, early diagnosis, and enhanced therapy for persons whose lives are impacted by Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). The COPD Foundation has several programs dedicated to informing, empowering, educating, and engaging individuals affected by COPD, including both diagnosed and undiagnosed individuals, their families and friends, and their medical professionals. For more information, please visit:

About COPD

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is the third leading cause of death in the U.S. and the only chronic disease growing in mortality. It affects approximately 24 million Americans but only 12 million are diagnosed. COPD includes chronic bronchitis, emphysema, and adult onset (refractory) asthma. Symptoms include breathlessness, wheezing, and chronic coughing. For more information about COPD, visit or call 1-866-316-COPD (2673).

About NHLBI’s Learn More Breathe Better® Campaign

The NHLBI COPD Learn More Breathe Better® campaign provides education materials, a website ( and additional communications tools for community partners. The campaign targets the needs of the public, including those at risk for COPD, people with COPD who are undiagnosed and those already diagnosed with the disease. The campaign also focuses on reaching health care professionals, specifically primary care providers, to increase early detection, proper diagnosis and appropriate treatment.  

About the Breathe Better Network

The Breathe Better Network is designed to broaden the reach of the national campaign effort and was developed by the NHLBI to help bridge the gap in awareness about this highly prevalent disease. Since the campaign began in 2007, more than 50 organizations in 30 states have initiated COPD education programs or convened coalitions.