Content Review and Evaluation Committee (CREC)

The purpose of the COPD Foundation Content Review and Evaluation Committee (CREC) is to develop or solicit high-quality content for publication on the COPD Foundation website and to coordinate review to ensure accuracy, timeliness and quality. The COPD Foundation Website content aims to provide valuable information on topics relevant to anyone affected by COPD, including patients, caregivers, healthcare providers, and friends or family members of those affected.

  • Ruth Tal-Singer, PhD (co-lead)
    President & Chief Scientific Officer
    COPD Foundation

    Ruth Tal-Singer, PhD

    Ruth Tal-Singer, PhD, President & Chief Scientific Officer at the COPD Foundation, is internationally recognized as an innovative, patient-focused, and highly analytical health care leader and clinical scientist with extensive R&D experience. She has a proven history of successfully leading international public and private partnerships and non-profit organizations through critical advancements and progress of clinical trials and large international observational cohorts. She is adept at building and maintaining global partnerships between pharma, patients, academia, advocacy groups and governments. Her wide-ranging technical and scientific knowledge comprises molecular biology, immunology, application of digital technology, and in vivo disease models. She has authored hundreds of peer-reviewed articles, including highly cited scientific publications that reported important insights on COPD (h-index 68). Until her retirement from GSK in 2019, Ruth was a long-time COPD Foundation collaborator and the founding Industry chair of the COPD Biomarker Qualification Consortium (CBQC). Since taking the helm of the COPD Foundation, she has been a powerful advocate for visionary thinking and transformative approaches to putting the patient at the heart of research, building internal medical and scientific expertise, and catalyzing action in partnership with like-minded global organizations. She is committed to science-fueled research, emerging technology, and innovative approaches to preventing, diagnosing, treating, and ultimately finding a cure for COPD, bronchiectasis, and nontuberculous mycobacteria lung disease. Recent initiatives include the formation of COPD360Net®, the COPD Foundation’s digital health and therapeutics development accelerator network, the Community Engagement Committee (CEnCo), and Oxygen360.

  • Vincent Malanga, BS, MCP (co-lead)
    EVP, Chief Information Officer
    COPD Foundation

    Vincent Malanga, BS, MCP

    Vincent M. Malanga is the Chief Information Officer for the COPD Foundation. In this role Vincent serves as the senior technology strategist providing guidance and vision on emerging technologies, technology innovation, digital trends and infrastructure advances as well as defining, implementing, and evolving the technology solutions and procedures that comprise the COPD360 technology platform of which he is the chief architect.

    Vincent has over 25 years of experience in software architecture and development, database design, data and systems integration and enterprise architecture, and 15 years of experience in search engine optimization. Prior to joining the COPD Foundation, Vincent ran a successful technology consulting company and developed custom business solutions for many Fortune 500 companies including Ralph Lauren, Omnicom Group and Elsevier. He is a Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) in numerous Microsoft programming languages and development tools, Azure Cloud Services, and Azure AI. He has been a guest blogger on the Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) and has spoken at industry conferences. Vincent is also a co-author on numerous abstracts and publications from various research studies. Vincent has a Bachelor of Science from Hofstra University, continuing education credits from MIT Professional Education, and has a Series 7 broker’s license.

  • R. Graham Barr, MD, DrPH
    Hamilton Southworth Professor Epidemiology and Medicine
    Columbia University
    New York, NY
  • Surya Bhatt, MD
    Associate Professor
    University of Alabama, Birmingham
  • Cathy Gray Carlomagno, BS
    Managing Editor
    Journal of the COPD Foundation

    Cathy Gray Carlomagno, BS

    Cathy Carlomagno is the Managing Editor of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Diseases: Journal of the COPD Foundation. In this role she is responsible for both the daily operations and long- range planning of this quarterly, peer reviewed medical/scientific journal. This includes management of production, marketing, communications, strategic planning, and business operations of the Journal.

    Prior to joining the COPD Foundation, Cathy served as Director of Communications and Marketing for the American Thoracic Society where her responsibilities included promoting the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine and the American Journal of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology within medical, trade, and popular press. Cathy also has experience as a primary spokesperson, publications editor, and Director of Communications for a regional pediatric medical center and as a medical communications consultant for various national health care organizations including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    Cathy has a Bachelor of Science in communications from the University of Tennessee. She received the American Thoracic Society Presidential Commendation award in 2005.

  • Richard Casaburi, MD, PhD
    Associate Chief of Research, Professor, Division of Respiratory and Critical Care Physiology & Medicine
    Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center
    Torrance, CA
  • Keira A. Cohen, MD
    Assistant Professor of Medicine
    Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine
    Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
    Baltimore, MD
  • Min Joo, MD
    Associate Professor of Medicine
    University of Illinois at Chicago
    Chicago, IL
  • Barry Make, MD
    Department of Medicine
    Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care & Sleep Medicine
    National Jewish Health
    Denver, CO
  • Elisha Malanga, BS
    EVP, Chief of Staff
    COPD Foundation

    Elisha Malanga, BS

    In her role as Chief of Staff, Elisha works in partnership with the Foundation’s Executive team to develop and execute the overall strategic direction of the COPD Foundation. Elisha oversees the Foundation's corporate relations and works closely with our corporate partners and collaborators. Her team leads cause marketing efforts and manages specialty grants and the Foundation’s Industry Advisory Board studies, including COPDGene®, SPIROMICS and SOURCE. Elisha continues to nurture and expand Foundation partnerships with like-minded organizations. She is the staff liaison to the Foundation’s Medical and Scientific Advisory Committee and has extensive experience with Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute-funded and other specialty grant submissions.

    Prior to joining the Foundation, Elisha helped to establish the American Thoracic Society (ATS) Research Program and in 2007, she received the ATS Presidential Commendation award. Elisha has a Bachelor of Science from the University of Richmond.

  • David Mannino, MD
    Professor of Medicine
    University of Kentucky
    Lexington, KY
  • Byron Thomashow, MD
    Professor of Medicine Columbia University Medical Center
    Columbia University Medical Center
    New York, NY

    Byron Thomashow, MD

    Byron Thomashow, MD, is a Professor of Medicine at Columbia University Medical Center and an Attending Physician at the New York-Presbyterian Hospital. He helped found the COPD Foundation in 2004 and served as Chairman of the Board of Directors for ten years. In July 2018, he took on the role of Chief Medical Officer of the Foundation. He is the medical co-director of the Jo-Ann Le Buhn Center for Chest Disease on the Columbia campus and is medical director of the New York-Presbyterian Lung Volume Reduction program. He chaired the Respiratory Disease Council of the New York-Presbyterian Healthcare Network for many years and co-chaired the New York-Presbyterian smoking cessation initiative leading to the campus going smoke free. He has served as co-chair for the NY State COPD Coalition, co-chaired the New York State COPD Summit in 2010, co-chaired COPD7USA in 2011, COPD8USA in 2013, COPD 9USA in 2015, COPD10USA in 2017, and co-chaired the COPD Foundation COPD Readmission Summits in October 2013 and March 2015.

    The Byron M. Thomashow Professorship of Medicine Columbia University was established in 2006. Byron was awarded the 2013 American Thoracic Society Public Advisory Roundtable Excellence Award. In 2016, he received the Columbia University Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award sponsored by the Arnold P. Gold Foundation. In 2017 he received the Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2018 he received the JW Walsh Visionary Award from the COPD Foundation. He was a member of the steering committee and the co-primary investigator at the Columbia site for the National Emphysema Treatment Trial and has been and remains actively involved in multiple national clinical research projects.

    View Columbia Profile

  • Gerard Turino, MD
    John H. Keating Professor Emeritus Columbia University
    St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital
    New York, NY
  • Barbara Yawn, MD
    University of Minnesota
    Rochester, MN

About The Authors

About the authors of articles posted in the COPD Foundation blog (The COPD Digest) and The PRAXIS NEXUS.

Christina Hunt, BS, RRT-NPS

Christina Hunt is the Director of Bronchiectasis and NTM Research and Education for the Foundation. In this role, Christina creates patient educational resources and assists with research projects that are part of the Bronchiectasis and Nontuberculous Mycobacterial (NTM) initiative, a program started by the Foundation several years ago because of the significant overlap between COPD and these two chronic lung diseases.

She is a registered respiratory therapist and has worked in the field of respiratory care for more than 20 years including in adult, pediatric, and neonatal intensive care units; critical care transport teams; and most recently, pulmonary rehabilitation. Christina has worked as a respiratory department clinical educator at a local hospital, and as both adjunct faculty and a clinical instructor for respiratory care students at a local community college. In 2018, she developed a successful blog,, to help people with chronic lung conditions live happier, healthier lives. She also serves on the board of directors for Breath Matters Support Group of Virginia.

Christina holds a Bachelor of Science in human food, nutrition, and exercise degree from Virginia Tech.


Amanda Atkinson, MSN, RN

Amanda Atkinson, MSN, RN is the Manager of Patient and Professional Education for the COPD Foundation. In this role she designs educational resources for health care professionals, patients, and caregivers, improving awareness of and accessibility to the latest evidence-based research, innovation, and information.

Amanda comes from a diverse clinical background where she provided care to patients with a variety of health conditions. She has held educational roles over the course of her career in both the health care and corporate sectors, including serving as adjunct faculty for the community and technical college system. She also co-authored a curriculum for use in non-profit recovery homes. Amanda has a passion for empowering patients, caregivers, and providers by creating educational tools to improve quality of care, enabling patients to live their best lives.

Amanda is a registered nurse and holds a Master of Science with concentration in Nursing Education from Northern Kentucky University.


COPD360social Moderation

COPD360social posts are monitored by the COPD Foundation's Vice President of Patient Experience and COPD360social Community Manager, as well as certified staff Respiratory Therapists and nurses.

  • Bill Clark
    Vice President of Patient Experience
    COPD360social Community Manager
    COPD Foundation

    Bill Clark

    Bill Clark is the Foundation’s Vice President of Patient Experience. Recruited by Foundation founder John W. Walsh and with the Foundation since its inception, Bill serves as Community Manager of COPD360social, a social network for patients, caregivers, and professionals. Bill leads Foundation staff in monitoring members’ posts, answering questions, finding resources, and bringing in medical experts, as necessary, to ensure that members of the network have the most accurate and current information available. As a COPD patient himself, Bill is uniquely qualified to ensure that COPD360social members feel supported, comforted, and heard by the larger COPD community. He was instrumental in COPD360social recently reaching an impressive milestone of having 50,000 registered members.

    Bill also contributes to many of the Foundation’s educational publications, has been extensively interviewed by national media outlets, and is involved in numerous research initiatives.

    Prior to joining the Foundation in 2004, Bill was a retired special education teacher in Ohio for 28 years. Bill has a Bachelor of Science in education degree from Western Illinois University.


  • Stephanie Williams, BS, RRT
    Senior Director of Community Education Programs
    COPD Foundation

    Stephanie Williams, BS, RRT

    Stephanie Williams is the Senior Director of Community Education Programs for the COPD Foundation. In this role she works to make the COPD Foundation programs accessible to those in the COPD community. This includes managing the COPD Readmissions Institutes for health care professionals, designing programs such as virtual Harmonicas for Health, and engaging the COPD community through educational webinars, social media events, blog posts, and more.

    Over the course of her career, Stephanie has designed and implemented pulmonary rehabilitation and respiratory programs in a variety of patient care settings. Prior to joining the Foundation, Stephanie was the Director of Clinical Education and Clinical Effectiveness at Alana HealthCare in Nashville, Tennessee where she ensured staff respiratory therapists’ education was current while also developing educational programs for patients enrolled in both the home and facility-based non-invasive ventilation program. Stephanie was also the Director of Cardiopulmonary for White County Community Hospital where she started a pulmonary rehab program, a support group for COPD patients in the community, and a smoking cessation program.

    She is a registered respiratory therapist and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in education from Tennessee Technological University.



The COPD Coach is aimed at providing information for individuals with COPD to take to their doctor, and is not in any way intended to be medical advice.

  • Bill Clark
    Vice President of Patient Experience
    COPD360social Community Manager
    COPD Foundation

COPD Education and PRAXIS

The COPD Foundation provides education and awareness for people affected by Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). PRAXIS is an initiative for healthcare providers, health systems administrators and policy makers created to improve COPD care across the continuum and reduce preventable hospital readmissions.

  • Michael W. Hess MPH, RRT, RPFT
    Senior Director of Public Outreach and Education
    COPD Foundation

    Michael W. Hess MPH, RRT, RPFT

    Michael W. Hess is the Senior Director of Public Outreach and Education and leads the Oxygen360 project for the Foundation. The goal of the project is to facilitate oxygen equipment innovation and research, promote policy improvements surrounding oxygen reimbursement, and enhance clinician education on the appropriate use of this critical therapy. The Foundation aims to redesign the oxygen infrastructure into a robust, resilient system that works for all stakeholders, from manufacturers to equipment distributors to the patients at the heart of our mission.

    Prior to joining the Foundation, Mike served in a unique position at WMed Health in Kalamazoo, Michigan. As Chronic Lung Disease Coordinator, he provided patient education, diagnostic testing, care coordination, and other respiratory care services as part of a primary care clinic while also designing and implementing community outreach programs to enhance respiratory health.

    Mike is a registered respiratory therapist and has a Master of Public Health degree from Western Michigan University. In 2019 he received the Ambulatory and Post-Acute Care Specialty Practitioner of the Year from the American Association for Respiratory Care.


  • Jane Martin, BA, CRT
    Assistant Director of Education
    COPD Foundation

    Jane Martin, BA, RCP

    Jane M. Martin is the Assistant Director of Public Education for the Foundation. In this position she writes patient educational materials and blog posts, working with physician experts to ensure the content is accurate and up to date. Jane also assists pulmonary rehabilitation and breathing support group program coordinators across the country in selecting COPD Foundation educational materials that will be most beneficial for their purposes.

    Known as a trail blazer and fierce patient advocate, Jane is a certified respiratory therapist with over 35-years’ experience across the continuum of care, including establishing and coordinating pulmonary rehabilitation and breathing support group programs.

    Jane is also a teacher and writer with a Bachelor of Arts degree in education and language arts from Hope College and a certification in respiratory care from the California College for Health Sciences. She is the author of over 200 COPD-related articles and two books on living with chronic lung disease.


  • Kristen Willard, MS
    Executive Vice President Public and Professional Education
    COPD Foundation

    Kristen Willard, MS

    Kristen Willard is the Executive Vice President of Public and Professional Education for the Foundation. In this role, Kristen is responsible for overseeing the organization’s educational supports for those with COPD, their family members, and the health care professionals with whom they work. Kristen is particularly passionate about improving the lives of those with these illnesses, having lost both her father and grandmother to COPD.

    She is a project lead with more than 20 years of experience in health research and project management. Kristen began her career at Georgetown University in biobehavioral research related to breast and ovarian cancer susceptibility. After obtaining her advanced degree in clinical psychology, she worked in research in both epilepsy and chronic pain as well as project oversight in literacy, veterans’ mental health services, medical examiner competence and mental health in disability employment.

    Kristen has a Master of Science in clinical psychology degree from Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida.


  • Stephanie Williams, BS, RRT
    Senior Director of Community Education Programs
    COPD Foundation

Guides for Better Living Reviewer Team

The Guides for Better Living are designed to inform and empower people with COPD to live fuller, more active, and healthier lives. Each guide undergoes detailed expert review to ensure clarity and accuracy of the content.

  • Karin Hoff, PhD, ABPP
    Associate Professor
    Department of Psychiatry, University of Iowa
  • Patricia Jellen, MSN, RN
    Columbia University Irving Medical Center

    Patricia Jellen, MSN, RN

    Patricia Jellen’s nursing career at the Columbia University Irving Medical Center site of the New York Presbyterian Hospital has spanned from the bedside as a new graduate, to nursing management and program development. For the past 20 years, Pat has focused her clinical and professional efforts on the development and management of the Lung Volume Reduction program at NYPH. Currently, Pat is the Practice Administrator for the NYPH/CUIMC Adult and Pediatric Pulmonary Diagnostic Labs. Because of her clinical background and interest in COPD, she was the Administrative lead for the development and implementation of the Clinical pathway for COPD at NYPH/CUIMC.

    Beyond the hospital, Pat was an active member of the ERWG committee of the COPD Foundation; NY ALA planning committee for Lung Force in NYC; and an active member of the COPD 9 & 10 planning committee. She has been an invited speaker at COPD 9-Chicago; NY Lung Force 2015-2019; group leader at the 2016 NIH COPD Call to Action meeting; and COPD 16 Birmingham 2016. She serves as a Board Member for the US COPD Coalition. Ms. Jellen holds a BSN degree from the College of New Rochelle and a MSN degree from Columbia University.


  • David Mannino, MD
    Co-Founder and Medical Director
    COPD Foundation

    David Mannino, MD

    David Mannino, MD, is the Medical Director and Co-Founder of the COPD Foundation. In 2004, at an airport meeting room in Denver, he was also part of the original team that launched the COPD Foundation and has served the Foundation in multiple roles, including chair of the Medical and Scientific Advisory Committee, Chief Scientific Officer, and as an Associate Editor of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Diseases: Journal of the COPDF Foundation.

    David is a Philadelphia native who went to Penn State and Jefferson Medical College before completing his medical residency (Lankenau Hospital, Philadelphia) and pulmonary fellowship (West Virginia University, Morgantown). After his fellowship, he took a position at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention where he helped to launch the National Asthma Program and worked on the epidemiology of COPD. In 2004, he retired from the U.S. Public Health Service and started his academic career at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, where he was part of the international Burden of Lung Disease (BOLD) team, with the only U.S. site. Following a three-year stint as a U.S. Medical Expert at GlaxoSmithKline, with a focus on COPD, he returned to the Foundation as a Medical Director in November 2020.

  • Xavier Soler, MD
  • Kristen Szymonik, BS, RRT, AE-C
    Manager of Public and Professional Education
    COPD Foundation

    Kristen Szymonik, BS, RRT, AE-C

    Kristen Szymonik is the Manager of Patient and Professional Education for the Foundation. In this role she develops and edits educational materials for patients and community outreach projects.

    Kristen is a registered respiratory therapist, certified asthma educator, and medical writer. Prior to joining the Foundation, she designed and implemented one of the first comprehensive asthma education programs in the Chicago suburbs, providing inpatient, outpatient, and community-based education for patients and families. Kristen served a term on the National Asthma Educator Certification Board, where she collaborated with medical professionals from all disciplines and backgrounds. As a medical writer, she developed numerous continuing education classes for health care providers, wrote study guides for national level board exams, and has presented lectures for health care providers on the management of asthma and allergies. Kristen also serves as an author and faculty member on a web-based nursing education forum.

    Kristen has Bachelor of Science degree in respiratory care from National-Louis University.

  • Kristen Willard, MS
    Executive Vice President Public and Professional Education
    COPD Foundation

Policy and Advocacy

COPD advocates across the country are spreading information at health fairs, calling and writing elected officials, inspiring fellow community members, speaking at support groups, hosting fundraisers, and much, much more. The COPD community works with local, state, and federal policy makers to increase research funding, improve care delivery, protect access to treatments, and create policy that improves the lives of those with COPD.


The COPD Foundation research mission is to ensure a central role for the patient/caregiver in all stages of research including project feasibility, study design, implementation, and dissemination of results.

  • Elisha Malanga, BS
    EVP, Chief Research Officer
    COPD Foundation
  • Danielle Boyce, MPH
    Senior Analyst
    COPD Foundation

    Danielle Boyce, MPH

    Danielle Boyce is the Senior Research Data Analyst at the Foundation. She supports the design, planning, and analysis of qualitative and quantitative studies for the Foundation.

    Before coming to the COPD Foundation, she worked for more than a decade for Johns Hopkins School of Medicine's Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care where she provided biostatistical and data engineering support for pulmonary hypertension, asthma, and COPD research, and she facilitated the harmonization of the pulmonary function testing lab database with EPIC.

    Danielle is also a rare disease advocate. She serves on the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute Rare Disease Advisory Panel and is often invited to speak to patient advocacy groups about data standards.

    She has a Master of Public Health with a concentration in epidemiology and will complete her doctorate in public administration in 2021.

  • Cara B. Pasquale, MPH
    Senior Director of Research and Project Lead for COPD360Net
    COPD Foundation

    Cara B. Pasquale, MPH

    Cara B. Pasquale is the Foundation’s Senior Director of Research and Project Lead for COPD360Net. Cara joined the Foundation in 2014 and initially focused on establishing and growing the COPD Patient-Powered Research Network and engaging with patient and caregiver partners. In her current role she oversees several research projects and is focused on building the COPD360Net program, the Foundation’s initiative to facilitate, review, and expedite clinical trials for new therapies and digital health tools.

    Cara has several years of public health experience including working with researchers to translate their work into action, community interventions, systematic literature reviews and engaging stakeholders. Prior to joining the COPD Foundation, Cara worked as a paralegal at Covington & Burling LLP, the Institute of International Education on the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology program, University Research Co., LLC on the USAID Translating Research into Action initiative, and was a Global Health Service Fellow at the World Health Organization at the Maternal, Newborn, Child, and Adolescent Health division.

    Cara holds a Master of Public Health degree from George Washington University and is a certified project management professional (PMP).

  • Delia Prieto, BSEd, MSEd
    Senior Director of Research
    COPD Foundation

    Delia Prieto, BSEd, MSEd

    Delia Prieto is the Senior Director of Research at the COPD Foundation. She has been involved with the Foundation since 2009 and joined the team full-time in 2011. In her role at the Foundation, she manages several of the Foundation’s research programs including the Bronchiectasis and NTM Research Registry and BronchandNTM360social. Delia also serves as the primary staff liaison to the Medical and Scientific Advisory Committee, the COPDGene Industry Advisory Consortium, and the SPIROMICS Industry Advisory Consortium.

    Delia has extensive experience managing patient registries and research consortia, and serves a critical role in connecting patients, health care providers, researchers, and industry partners to work collaboratively in an effort to advance research in the fields of COPD, bronchiectasis, and nontuberculous mycobacterial (NTM) lung disease.

    She has a Master of Science in education degree from the University of Miami.

  • Bruce E. Miller, PhD
    Senior Scientific Director, COPD360Net
    COPD Foundation Consultant

    Bruce E. Miller, PhD

    Bruce Miller, PhD, joined the Foundation in January 2021 as the Senior Scientific Director for the Chronic Lung Disease Biomarker and Clinical Outcomes Assessment Qualification Consortium (CBQC) and Pipeline Lead for COPD360Net. He also represents the Foundation on committees that oversee the COPDGene and SPIROMICS studies.

    Prior to joining the Foundation, Bruce held senior scientific roles at several pharmaceutical firms including Sterling Winthrop Pharmaceuticals, Rhone-Poulenc Rorer, Johnson & Johnson, and GlaxoSmithKline(GSK). During his 15 years at GSK, Bruce led several COPD drug development projects and was involved in numerous public-private collaborations that significantly contributed to disease understanding in COPD. He was the industry co-chair for the CBQC’s Fibrinogen Working Group, an effort that resulted in the first regulatory qualification with the Food and Drug Administration and the European Medicines Agency for a biomarker as a drug development tool to support COPD clinical trials.

    Bruce has authored or co-authored over 175 peer-reviewed publications in the areas of respiratory research and inflammation/immunology.

  • Ruth Tal-Singer, PhD
    President & Chief Scientific Officer
    COPD Foundation