Meet Your State Advocacy Captains!

State Captains are volunteers with COPD, caregivers, friends and family members or healthcare providers who use their contacts and talents and partner with the COPD Foundation to serve as state and community leaders.

Captains promote the importance of becoming a part of the COPD community. They work to spread COPD awareness in their state and local areas, mentor fellow COPD community members, and participate in online and in-person grassroots advocacy and community building activities focused on health policy issues that are important to those who have COPD. To learn more about becoming a state captain in your area please email statecaptains@copdfoundation.org.


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Jim Farmer

Jim Farmer Profile Photo Fort Payne, Alabama
jimf@abcplus.net

As a former caregiver, current healthcare professional, and the first State Captain for Alabama, my goal is to establish county level committees to drive awareness and participation in COPD Foundation initiatives.

As a COPD advocate, my efforts to bring awareness to COPD and the causes of COPD have presented many opportunities to discuss this disease through many avenues, including print media, electronic media, and live events, such as community events and health fairs.

As a State Captain, I am interested in connecting others in the COPD community to available resources so they can live healthier, fuller lives. I will continue to raise awareness by participating in community events and recruiting new State Captains and volunteers. I will also continue to write about COPD and work with state, local, and national officials to improve COPD policy.

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Patricia J. Owens

Patricia J. Owens Profile Photo Tucson, Arizona
owensp66@hotmail.com

As a patient advocate and the newest State Captain for Arizona, I hope to accomplish bringing awareness of COPD and help to not only my community but to all that will listen.

As a COPD advocate, I have sent a letter to my members of Congress about COPD, and I have spoken to my family and friends about COPD. I am also a member of a support group, and I have signed up for COPD360social.

As a State Captain, I am interested in working with state, local, and national officials to improve COPD policy, and writing about COPD to share my story and help raise awareness. I would also like to connect others in the COPD community to the resources available so they can live healthier, fuller lives, and recruit new State Captains and volunteers.

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Shereen Bailey

Shereen Bailey Profile Photo Miamisburg, Ohio
ohio10@copdfoundation.org

I am a COPD advocate because I know so many who suffer from this disease could have a much better quality of life if we could only reach them. Almost everyone has, or knows someone who suffers from COPD, yet it is not talked about like so many other diseases. The paradigm need to change, and I want to help change it.

As State Captain I hope to change the perception that their isn’t much that can be done to change the quality of life for someone that has COPD.

My proudest COPD moment happened with a patient I had been caring for with severe COPD named John. When I first started caring for him, he was so short of breath and weak it was difficult for him to even get out of bed. We worked extensively on breathing retraining, pulmonary rehab, relaxation techniques, and disease education. My proudest COPD moment was when John stopped by to visit several weeks after he had discharged home. We were walking down the hall together. He had his portable oxygen concentrator over his shoulder and was laughing at me, because he was walking so quickly, I was struggling to keep up. It struck me at that moment that the work we do for these patients really do have the ability to change their entire lives dramatically.

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Patti Gilpin

Patti Gilpin Profile Photo Louisville, Kentucky
patti.gilpin@nortonhealthcare.org

As a respiratory therapist and State Captain of Kentucky, I hope to accomplish raising awareness about COPD within our communities and to educate people about testing, treatment options and lifestyle changes to improve their quality of life.

As a COPD advocate, I have written about COPD in a newspaper, magazine, or other publication, and I have sent a letter to my members of Congress about COPD. I have also participated in health fairs or community events to promote COPD awareness.

As a State Captain, I hope to connecting others in the COPD community to the resources available so they can live healthier, fuller lives, and raise awareness by participating in health fairs and community events. I would also like to host and participate in fundraisers to support my community.

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Margaret Bate

Margaret Bate Profile Photo Alief, Texas
eqhlth2006@yahoo.com

My father had COPD. I was his caregiver and coordinated his care in our family and his many health care providers. I shared in many of his hospital & ER trips including hospitalizations due to his COPD exacerbations. I experienced with desperation “Code Blue” calls on him while hospitalized. My hope for quality of life for him without COPD increased my determination to educate others about this deadly disease that does not have a cure yet but can be managed with proper treatments.

As State Captain I hope to educate COPDers, family, friends, and policymakers.

My proudest COPD moment was being a caregiver to my parents, especially my father who had COPD.

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Stephen Wehrman

Stephen Wehrman Profile Photo Vancouver, WA
wehrman@hawaii.edu

As a respiratory therapist and State Captain for Washington, I hope to create a state network of like-minded individuals, coordinate resources, increase the number of support groups and provide rural outreach programs, raise governmental awareness and get more resources. Oh and I am writing a book How to improve your lungs at Home in 12 weeks.

As a COPD advocate I have met, called, and emailed my elected officials. Additionally, I have participated in health fairs and community events to promote COPD awareness, have written about COPD in a local newspaper, and have spoken to my family and friends about COPD.

As a State Captain, my interests include providing improved access to underserved COPD patients, recruiting new State Captains and volunteers, and by connecting others in the COPD community to the resources available so they can live healthier and fuller lives.

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Victor Eckstein

Victor Eckstein Profile Photo Jasper, IN
vicellie@aol.com

As a patient, I am looking forward to using my perspective, and sharing my insights with others as a State Captain for Indiana.As a State Captain I hope to help other COPD patients have a better life through education.

As a COPD advocate I have called, emailed, and met with my local officials. I have written letters to local papers about COPD, been active on 360Social, and have participated in COPD research opportunities such as the COPD PPRN. I have also been active in my local support group, spread awareness about COPD through talking to my family, friends, and community members.

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Sandi Roberts

Sandi Roberts Profile Photo Smithville, MS
lroberts@monroeregionalhospital.com

As a respiratory therapist and the newest State Captain from Mississippi, I hope to encourage all with COPD to show them they can have a fulfilling life with this diagnosis. They can still do the things they love.

As a COPD advocate, I have participated in health fairs or community events to promote COPD awareness, and I have signed up for COPD360Social.

As a State Captain, I am most interested in connecting others in the COPD community to the resources available so they can live healthier, fuller lives, and working with state, local, and national officials to improve COPD policy. I would also like to raise awareness by participating in health fairs and community events.

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Eddie High

Eddie High Profile Photo Starkville, MS
ehigh@och.org

As a respiratory therapist and the newest state captain from Mississippi, I hope to accomplish increasing the public' awareness of COPD and the resources that are available to help them control their symptoms and disease progression Unfortunately, too many COPDers don't even know they have the disease. They are unaware of what they can do to control their symptoms and manage their disease progression. I hope to change that and make them aware of all the resources that are available to them.

As a COPD advocate,I have written many articles for local newspapers, and magazines. I have appeared on local television and participated in local health fairs and community events. I have sent letters to my members of Congress. I have joined COPD360Social, participated in the COPD Foundations Praxis section and have spoken to Mississippi health leaders about COPD. I have spoken to other health care providers numerous times at educational seminars.

As a State Captain, I am interested in connecting others in the COPD community to the resources available so they can live healthier, fuller lives, and writing about COPD to share my story and help raise awareness. I would also like to raise awareness by participating in health fairs and community events, and work with pharmaceutical company(s) to improve access to medications for those that can't afford them.

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Tina Moyer

Tina Moyer Profile Photo Middleburg, Pennsylvania
tiba65.copd@gmail.com

As State Captain I hope to promote COPD awareness so that doctors can be more aware that pulmonary rehab can help those of us with chronic lung issues, to help fellow COPDers, caregivers, friends and family can understand COPD better, and most importantly, to let fellow COPDers know they are not alone in this journey that we all share. COPD goes through many stages to maintain quality of life and the COPD Foundation is there to help us.

My proudest COPD moment was when I traveled to Washington, DC to talk with elected officials about healthcare issues for COPD. October 2017 marks 8 years of being smoke-free, along with my son who quit with me.

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Mike Hess

Mike Hess Profile Photo Kalamazoo, Michigan
michael.hess@med.wmich.edu

I am a Respiratory Therapist helping to educate people about lung disease.

As a State Captain, I hope to help change the trajectory of COPD in the United States by increasing awareness, funding, and research.

My proudest COPD moment is when a patient thanked me because, as they said, they "didn't know how bad my breathing was until it got better," because of their appointments with me.

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Gabrielle Davis

Gabrielle Davis Profile Photo Boise, Idaho
davisg@slhs.org

As a respiratory therapist and the newest State Captain from Idaho, I hope to accomplish working with other Captains in the state in order to promote awareness about COPD and assist people with COPD increase their quality of life. I hope to promote the necessity of more educators (both with and without lung disease) in our state to be available for people with COPD.

As a COPD advocate, I have spoken to my family and friends about COPD, participated in health fairs or community events to promote COPD awareness and have sent a letter to my members of Congress about COPD. I have also signed up for COPD360Social.

As a State Captain, I am interested in raising awareness by participating in health fairs and community events, as well as connecting others in the COPD community to the resources available so they can live healthier, fuller lives. I would also like to write about COPD to share my story and help raise awareness.

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COPD Foundation State Captain Program Informational Video

The COPD Foundation is looking for new State Captains to join our community to be champions for promoting COPD awareness, improving quality of life for those with COPD, to participate in research opportunities, policy, and much more. Email statecaptains@copdfoundation.org for questions and to start the onboarding process today!