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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Marlyce Campbell

Marlyce Campbell Profile Photo Wakeeney, KS
mcampbell@tclmh.org

As a respiratory therapist and the newest State Captain from Kansas, I hope to accomplish helping people understand how to live with COPD and to maximize medication, actives and daily living to their fullest.

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

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, raising awareness by participating in health fairs and community events, and working with state, local, and national officials to improve COPD policy.

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Kathleen Hendrick

Kathleen Hendrick Profile Photo Deland, Florida
Grandma3quilter@gmail.com

As the newest State Captain for Florida, I hope to accomplish providing education to our community and support to others with COPD. I am disabled due to COPD for the last ten years but my diagnosis was twenty eight years ago. Living with COPD has its challenges but I made constructive changes to my diet by becoming a vegetarian, exercising on a regular basis and avoiding situations that trigger flare ups. My Doctors good advice was not to sit for longer than thirty minutes at a time, but to get up and move. I have found that has helped me not only with my COPD but other health issues also.

As a COPD advocate I have participated in health fairs or community events to promote COPD awareness, and have spoken to my friends and family about COPD. I am also a member of a COPD Support Group, and serve as the group secretary.

As a State Captain I hope to connect 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 work with state, local, and national officials to improve COPD policy and raise awareness by participating in health fairs and community events.

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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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Crystal Hiser

Crystal Hiser Profile Photo Magnolia, Delaware
crystal_hiser@bayhealth.org

As the newest State Captain from Delaware, I would love to expand upon the work I am doing with our local American Lung Association Events for awareness in community outreach. Whatever opportunities that are available to help, I am more than willing. I would love to accomplish something that I have never done before maybe participating in a Capital Awareness Day. This will be my first year as a State Captain so I am looking forward to learning new things and helping as much as possible. I hope to help elevate the care for COPD patients in my community and create public awareness of the disease.

As a COPD advocate I have emailed my elected officials and published articles about COPD in my local newsletter. Additionally, I have participated in health fairs and community events to promote COPD awareness. I have spoken to my family and friends about COPD and try to raise awareness any chance that I get.

As a State Captain, my interests include connecting others in the COPD community to the resources available so they can live healthier and fuller lives, as well as working with state, local, and national officials to improve COPD Policy. I am also interested in raising awareness by participating in health fairs and community events.

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Jennifer Nulph

Jennifer Nulph Profile Photo Columbus, IN
jnulph@crh.org

As a respiratory therapist and State Captain for Indiana, I hope to accomplish raising awareness of patients/families and policymakers to help improve healthcare of patients, and to increase funding for COPD research.

As a COPD advocate and pulmonary rehab professional I have met with local officials to enact and support strong local smoking ordinances. I taught COPD education classes that were open to the public at our local senior community center, and I was part of a group at my hospital that put together a COPD free lunch and learn event for the public as part of a health fair. I have also written articles for our local paper and given radio interviews. I regularly participate in health fairs and community events to promote COPD awareness, and I co-facilitate the local Better Breathers Club support group.

As a State Captain, my interests include continuing community outreach and increasing my interactions with local and state legislators and policy makers to support policies that help the COPD population and support tobacco cessation efforts.

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Goldia 'Gigi' Brown

Goldia 'Gigi' Brown Profile Photo Fairburn, GA
goldiambrown@gmail.com

As a former caregiver, friend, and the newest State Captain from Georgia, I hope to accomplish bringing COPD awareness to the forefront in the community where I live and throughout the state of Georgia. My goal is to help educate the general public, to advocate on behalf of those living with COPD at both the state and federal level,and to do all that I can to assist in the prevention and elimination of COPD.

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 raising awareness by participating in health fairs and community events. I would also like to write about COPD to share my story and help raise awareness, and work with state, local, and national officials to improve COPD policy.

My proudest COPD moment thus far is the opportunity to serve as a State Captain for Georgia.

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Lisa Ellison

Lisa Ellison Profile Photo Sitka, AK
lisae@searhc.org

As a respiratory therapist and Alaska’s first State Captain, I hope to advocate for the COPD community by recruiting volunteers and new state captains. Alaska is a large state with many different communities and cultures. My experience as a respiratory therapist in Alaska will enable me to promote awareness among our state legislators, healthcare professionals, and patients.

As a COPD advocate, I currently live on an island in southeast Alaska and see the need for promoting COPD education with an emphasis on COPD Patient Action Plans. In our remote villages, when a COPD exacerbation occurs, many times the patient is medically flown out to a larger city for a higher-level of care. By encouraging early diagnosis, education, and treatment, this will have a potential impact on the state of Alaska by decreasing air transfers, earlier tobacco cessation, decreased hospital admissions, and reduction of patient care costs.

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Cindy Wehrman

Cindy Wehrman Profile Photo Hartford, Wisconsin
cindy.wehrman@yahoo.com

As a respiratory therapist and State Captain for Wisconsin, I hope to accomplish the development of relationships with my elected officials with the goal of informing representatives about COPD, the people, their needs, and about important issues related to COPD that are present in our states locally and that are important to the Foundation (e.g. medication, pulmonary rehab, insurance, oxygen access, research, joining the COPD Caucus etc.). Elected officials both locally and federally may not know what COPD is, how it impacts people and families or what the major issues are and I would like to be that voice for all of patients I advocate for and all of the people living with COPD that I may never encounter.

As a COPD advocate, I have participated in emergency department COPD research and participated in health fairs and community events to promote COPD awareness. Currently, I advocate for COPD patients, veterans and families in my day to day work for greater than 4 counties. And over the past year, I have developed and implemented a successful COPD program where my goal is to help patients improve their health related quality of life while also helping them lower admission rates. My goal is to ensure my patients have all the resources they require to improve their quality of life. I find it important to consider the whole patient and not just the disease.

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 I would like to work with local, state and national officials to improve COPD policies.

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Deborah Willis

Deborah Willis Profile Photo Waxhaw, North Carolina
northcarolina@copdfoundation.org

As State Captain I hope that I can make a difference in patient’s lives--they are so underserved.

I have been a respiratory therapist for over 28 years. This particular patient population has been overlooked for so many years. Many COPD patients have been hard-working, dedicated members of society that deserve a voice and the ability to receive many of the resources that have been made available to other patient populations. I truly believe that the more focus and attention we provide to this patient population, the better outcomes we will collectively achieve which will lead to potentially better quality of life for this underserved group./p>

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Erica Mann

Erica Mann Profile Photo Fayetteville, GA
Emann@synsormed.com

As a healthcare professional and the newest State Captain for Georgia, I hope to accomplish being able to help those that are suffering from COPD to get their voices heard. Only they know what they are struggling with on a personal level, and if I can help spread their voices in high numbers, I believe more changes will come. I also want to get a better understanding of what respiratory therapists go through, so they can receive more support as well as they encounter more and more patients with COPD.

As a State Captain, I hope to accomplish raising awareness by participating in health fairs and community events, and hosting and participating in fundraisers to support my community. I would also like to connect others in the COPD community to the resources available so they can live healthier, fuller lives, and participate and promote research opportunities to help find a cure.

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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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John Linnell

John Linnell Profile Photo Viroqua, Wisconsin
freeborn1956@gmail.com

I don't want others to have to figure so many things out entirely on their own such as I had to do. There are so many resources and forms of help out there that are actually so easy to reach out to, one simply has to know they are there!

As State Captain I hope to promote patients helping patients, in both education and in research.

My proudest COPD moment was being featured as the cover article in the COPD Digest.

My inspiration to share is if you’re not having fun, you’re doing something wrong and patients listen to patients.

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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!