The PRAXIS Nexus The PRAXIS Nexus

COPD National Action Plan Goal 5

Posted on June 21, 2016   |   
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Increase awareness and sustain COPD education among stakeholders, decision makers, individuals with COPD, their families, caregivers, communities, and populations at risk.

We’ve read all of your generous, detailed comments on our first four COPD National Action Plan goals and are compiling your feedback as we speak. Thank you for taking the time to articulate what gaps you see in current national approaches and to identify what steps we can take to shake up the current status quo for the betterment of current and future patients and their families.

Today’s goal is one of the more accessible of the six in that it is more tangible, more readily experienced by all of those affected by COPD, whether as individuals with COPD ourselves or family members, coworkers, church goers, neighbors or other community members living in a world where millions are affected. It also directly affects those populations at risk – the approximately 12 million Americans and millions more internationally – who may not even be diagnosed yet.

This fifth COPD National Action plan goal asks: how can we increase awareness about COPD in general and its risk factors, its impact, its treatment and maintenance, more specifically? How can we put our best education forward to all stakeholders – so, patient education to those already affected by COPD, education on the significant patient and health care impacts for policy makers and health systems administrators as well as education on risks and effects to those at increased possibility for developing one of these conditions?

We can’t wait to hear what you have to say. What is working … what should the COPD policy, awareness and education communities be doing differently, and what are your sky-high dreams when it comes to increasing awareness and education of COPD?


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  • Take away the stigma that copd is a smokers disease as not just smokers can get it. It is more of an industrial disease as chemicals , smoke and pollution have greatly added to the amount of copd incidents. Don't portray it simply as a common disorder. Copd is an epidemic which is growing daily. It needs to be treated as such. The world if afraid of a little mosquito but copd is deadlier than zeka. Why is it not treated as a deadly epidemic?
    • Great points, philoz. What do you think are some of the best ways to get these messages across?
    • I have posted my opinions on Facebook and sent them out to a local TV anchor, we need to somehow get the CDC involved. Even though COPD is not contagious. It can be hereditary and is affecting so many people the government needs to quit ignoring us. Unfortunately unless a Senator , Congressman or President or one of their immediate family is lost from COPD nothing will be done. We need to rise up and let them hear or silent cries for help. ( enough for now my soap box is creaking)
  • Kristen, I think this goal is so achievable- we just need to be creative to make educational materials easy to understand and available any where, anytime we need them. We need to consider how different we all are and how we all learn. Some prefer on the web, Facebook, videos, paper, face to face in different mediums. then one call line we could call if we still need help to understand- what about calling a peer who also has the same disease they know what it is like to have those questions.
    We are all unique, so we need it to be available in many languages, reading levels, formats and even thinking about font size, as an older individual- I need Big letters.
    Access must also be easy like where can we all get it? Maybe community centers, libraries, hospitals, book stores-
    If we could just have the best educational materials we can and make them available in an easy manner to everyone everywhere. We all need to share in our own health care decision making- so we need the tools to help understand the choices, options and be our own experts for what will work for us.

    • Thanks Deb. I have been thinking about the different media we might be able to use. I noticed recently that in DC that so many of our bus advertisements -- the interior ones -- are devoted to health issues and research. When we ride the bus, we are a captive audience, so to speak. Helps to reach a variety of people, too, especially when a bus line travels a good distance. Also, I am someone who remembers a slogan or saying. Wondering if that would help, too.
  • Perhaps we should force those in power that could help but won't to wear a belt strapped tightly around their chests and run in high heat and humidity.
    • I think that this is a great idea. When high school boys had to wear the pregnant tummy for one day it certainly did change attitudes where I taught.
    • My wife says a corset would work better.
    • It isn't a corset! but I have heard of Foundation staff bringing straws to events -- they ask the attendees to breathe through the straws for a few minutes to get a sense of what it is like to have a lung disease.
  • I always thought a good place for advertising was on the sides of boxcars. Another captive audience.
  • As with a comment I made on another of the goals, I think we could learn a lot by looking at other top-funded and well-known diseases. For example, what brought HIV to the level of awareness it currently has? It certainly started out as an unknown disease with a stigma attached to it. I suspect that much of the success was due to a lot of people with star-power (Hollywood, sports figures) speaking out, and that garnered a lot of media hype.

    Is star-power something that COPD could leverage?

    Other causes have won awareness by getting their silent masses mobilized and out in the open. How about a COPD million-lung march on Washington? ;-)

    I think the television ads showing former smokers now hooked to oxygen, struggling to breathe and possibly wheelchair bound are not helping, and may be hurting. The faces of COPD in awareness campaigns should be equally young and old, smokers and nonsmokers, men and women of all nationalities, income levels and races.

    At the individual level, would physicians welcome a simple pre-printed educational brochure to hand to their newly diagnosed patients? One that's not sponsored by a drug company for a change, but by COPD Foundation, helping to drive people to the site for more information?

    How about developing a turn-key kit/instructions for starting and running a local COPD support group. This is more of a grass-roots approach to reach people where they are, (and hopefully turn them into advocates and champions).

    I could probably go on and on about specifics. I've worked in communications/advertising/education all my career, so this goal is near and dear to me. I hope any of this helps, or at least maybe get someone else's wheels turning. :-)
    • Million lung march a good idea but they would not allow O2,tanks. Too close to bombs. Small local rallays nation wide synced and televised might get some attention.

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