An Interview with COPD10usa's Organizers
Posted on June 20, 2017 |
We recently sat down with COPD10usa’s top planners, the COPD Foundation’s Jason Moury and Stephanie Williams, both respiratory therapists with the Foundation. They are part of the team working to ensure attendees have the best possible experience next month in Chicago. Here’s what they had to say about the Foundation's biennial national conference!
Kristen: Thanks for talking with the PRAXIS Community about the upcoming conference. To kick off, who is a good fit for attending COPD10usa?
Stephanie: When we think of health care conferences, we automatically think about doctors, nurse practitioners, nurses, respiratory therapists, and others along those lines. These groups are absolutely a good fit for the conference, but often times, the people who benefit the most are those who are personally impacted by COPD.
A person who has been diagnosed with COPD can come to COPD10usa and not only listen to the presentations, but is encouraged to ask questions to help deepen their understanding of what they are experiencing. I would also encourage the family and friends of those living with COPD to come so they can have a better understanding of what COPD is and how it affects the person they care about … and with the patients involved in the sessions, it provides a perspective that I think adds so much depth that we, as clinicians, sometimes forget. There really is something for everyone at this conference. (Patient registration is here.)
Kristen: We know the planning team works to make each successive conference fresh and exciting. What is unique about COPD10usa?
Jason: This year, we took a fresh approach to our case studies. At COPD10usa, leaders in the COPD healthcare community will engage with the audience on comorbidities known to impact our COPD patients, including depression, anxiety, and heart conditions, among others. End-of-life care and pulmonary rehabilitation will also be discussed here. Also new this year is a focus on innovation and how technology currently plays a role in COPD care. We’ll also be talking about when and where the future advances in technology may help drive changes in COPD.
Stephanie: Yes, the case studies will be fascinating! Each panel will discuss two case studies related to their topic. Since the panels will each have a doctor (or two), a nurse, an RT, and a patient involved, this will foster some terrific interdisciplinary conversations that will be both educational and enlightening. It isn’t often that you get that many different perspectives in one place.
Kristen: Those sessions sound excellent and I hope I'm able to attend all of them! What are one (or two) particular sessions that you’re particularly excited about?
Stephanie: I would have to say that the case study session regarding pulmonary rehab and end of life decisions is the one I am most eager to hear. I have always been a firm believer that pulmonary rehab is the best tool you can put in the toolbox of someone with COPD. I believe that the more active a person can be in their day to day lives, the better their quality of life.
And with the rest of the session focusing on end-of-life planning, I know that some people will be reluctant to attend, but I would encourage everyone to come and see what this is about. The topic may seem a little uncomfortable at first, but I like to think of it this way: we plan for other big events in our lives, why not this? We plan for weddings, new babies, children going to college – this is something we need to have a plan for, too.
Jason: All good points. For me, out of all the sessions we have planned, the one that I would not miss is the session devoted to the COPD National Action Plan. NHLBI recently released the first-ever road map for care and change – this is really our first time to make a big impact for the COPD community. I would not miss this exciting session!
Kristen: I wish we could attend them all! One of the most unique things about this COPD conference series is the involvement of people with COPD and their families. Why do you think this is so important?
Stephanie: Four years ago, before I knew what the COPD Foundation was all about, I submitted an abstract for a poster presentation and attended the COPD8usa conference. At first, I thought this was going to be like the other 575 conferences I had been to in my life; I was wrong. I went to the first couple of sessions and got a lot of useful information that I could take back to my patients – but the real magic was when I went to a discussion on oxygen use.
The session started out like every other, but then the speakers opened the floor for questions, and five or six people with oxygen tanks formed a line at the microphone to let their opinions, perspectives, and questions be heard. Not only that … I saw people from the COPDF actually writing down notes from these questions and statements. The patients who had spoken knew that they had been heard – that their voices were important! Of all the things that I saw and learned at that conference, that was the most amazing. The voice of the patient is not only heard, but it is valued.
Jason: Yes! The COPD Foundation is a patient-centric organization, and this conference is the prime example of this. No other conference that I am familiar with brings those personally impacted by the disease to the front of the room like COPD10usa does. The input that they provide is critical to moving the focus of research, treatment, and overall thinking about COPD. We are always saying that the patient’s voice is the most important voice, and this conference is one of the best ways to get their voices heard.
Kristen: One last question: will there be any special events at the conference?
Jason: Yes, on Friday evening, we will host the Celebration of Life to honor the COPD Foundation’s Founder John W. Walsh, who most people know passed away recently. We will gather to celebrate his life and contributions to our community. The event is free and open to all! (See the full conference agenda here.)
We are looking forward to a wonderful conference. We hope to see you there!