Meet Your COPD Foundation Captains!

COPD Foundation 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. If you are interested in joining our group of volunteers, click here.


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Dr. Luis C. Losso

Dr. Luis C. Losso Profile Photo Sao Paulo, Brazil
lclosso@gmail.com

I am Dr. Luis C. Losso and I am honored to be the first Captain of the COPD Foundation in Brazil. I am currently Director of the Center for Thoracic Medicine and Minimally Invasive Thoracic Surgery, and also of the Severe Pulmonary Emphysema Unit at Hospital Edmundo Vasconcelos de São Paulo; and former President of the Department of Thoracic Surgery of the Sao Paulo Society of Pneumonology.

At our institution I have the opportunity, along with my entire team, to treat many patients with COPD, especially those with severe pulmonary emphysema. I have been book editor, author of several book chapters, as well as scientific articles on thoracic surgery presented at national and international conferences around the world.

I see the need to raise awareness among physicians and patients about the treatment of COPD in my country, particularly with regard to the minimally invasive interventional treatments available and so underutilized in patients severely compromised by pulmonary emphysema for which they can represent the very best in precision medicine.

I understand that, as a captain, I can exercise influence at health fairs and other community events and promote information, awareness, and research opportunities for people to participate. I believe that, working together, we can improve the quality of life for people with severe pulmonary emphysema.

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Dawn Lawson

Dawn Lawson Profile Photo Orangevale, CA
dawn@allfiredup.blue

I joined the COPD Foundation captain’s program in September of 2021. I was first diagnosed with COPD in 2015 and told that I had less than a week to live. Like many others, I became my own best advocate and fought for the right to join a pulmonary rehabilitation program.

Pulmonary rehab saved my life and I want others to have access to these same life-saving services. Today, I am passionate about advocating on behalf of the entire community and I frequently fight to expand access to pulmonary rehab programs for all that need it.

I am also an animal activist and often take in abandoned senior dogs.

My goal is to take away the “secrets” often associated with COPD and ensure that everyone has access to the care they need.

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Jamie Anderson

Jamie Anderson Profile Photo Franklin, TN
jda0726@yahoo.com

I am glad to join a great group of advocates with the COPD Foundation! I’m originally from Toledo, OH but have been in Nashville for 29 years and planning to stay. As a Post-Acute Respiratory Specialist, I hope to educate the public and offer support for those dealing with pulmonary diseases.

There are a few things that I have already done as a COPD advocate. I have spoken to my family and friends about COPD, and I have participated in health fairs and community events to promote COPD awareness. Also, I stay active on COPD360social.

As a COPD Foundation Captain, I am interested in connecting others in the COPD community to more resources so they can live healthier, fuller lives. I hope to do more work raising awareness and hosting fundraisers to support my community. I would also like to participate in research opportunities to help find a cure.

My proudest COPD moment has been recognizing that I can help change how this disease affects people. I love offering education and support to my community!

My favorite inspirational quote is, “People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.” -Unknown

I love spending time with my family and my 2nd canine Princess Lucy. My passion is with patient education. I believe respiratory technicians have a responsibility to teach our patients how to manage their disease better and have them realize that LIFE can get better if we work together in helping to reach your goals. I’ve seen it!! Let’s do this TOGETHER, YOU are not alone.

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Chastity Bargerhuff

Chastity Bargerhuff Profile Photo Oxford, AL
Chastitybargerhuff@hotmail.com

Hello! My name is Chastity Bargerhuff.

I work in Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation as a Certified Clinical Exercise Physiologist. I currently have 5+ years’ experience working with pulmonary patients. I am a current member of the COPD foundation, but my experience with COPD did not start there. I have lost several family members to COPD, including my father and paternal grandmother. I have several immediate family members that struggle with smoking, vaping, and nicotine addiction.

I grew up in Anniston, Alabama, which unfortunately was deemed one of the most toxic cities in the nation by a 60 Minutes investigation in 2002. These toxins have taken their toll on many community residents, causing various lung ailments and cancers.

My goal in becoming a State Advocacy Captain is to expand my knowledge base. Increase my networking options and expand services to reach those in need of them. Many patients have limited access and knowledge about services available to them. Continuing to educate patients, providing support, and progressing their advocacy is key to reaching more people. We must get people involved-real people, real stories, real struggles. This is where the fight begins. I hope to continue to raise awareness about COPD. I am so thankful to be a part of this journey.

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Chrishuna Vasser

Chrishuna Vasser Profile Photo Oklahoma City, OK
Crvasser@yahoo.com

I am a goal-oriented Respiratory Care Practitioner with a demonstrated history of working in various healthcare environments within the healthcare industry. Strengths include adult acute, critical, long term and home care environments. I have a passion for education, with emphasis on disease management education. As an educator, I take pride in motivating, influencing, and sharing professional experiences.

I am a small business entrepreneur who administers life-saving training courses using curriculums of the American Heart Association and the American Red Cross. I am also a practicing COPD Educator and Pulmonary Disease Educator.

Professional goals include building my brand as a dynamic Respiratory Care Practitioner and serving the aging population as a Licensed Nursing Home Administrator while facilitating effective team organization and collaboration. I am a proud and active member of the American Association for Respiratory Care, Oklahoma Society for Respiratory Care, American Association for Notaries, National Notary Association, and American College of Health Care Administrators.

In my role as State Captain, I look forward to empowering patients and caregivers with evidence-based knowledge to leverage clinical understanding and increase awareness. I am eager to work with state, local, and national officials to improve COPD policy. COPD Education is a true passion of mine and I am excited to explore research opportunities and participate in health fairs and community events.

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Hayley Harrison

Hayley Harrison Profile Photo Mamaroneck, NY
hrharrison24@gmail.com

Hey everyone! My name is Hayley Harrison, and I’m proud to be a COPD Foundation Captain for New York. I am a compassionate high school student who works to help individuals affected by COPD live happy and healthy lives. My nana (grandmother) was diagnosed with COPD in 2015 when I was ten years old, so I’ve been directly impacted by the illness and understand what many of you are going through. My nana is truly the strongest person I know, and all of my work as COPD Foundation Captain will be in her honor.

I have a lot of experience with advocacy and volunteering which makes me the perfect candidate to represent all of you. My goal is to ensure that all individuals with COPD are able to live their lives to the fullest potential and that treatment is accessible. I also hope to inspire my generation to take precautionary measures to minimize the risk of COPD in the future. Additionally, it’s important to me that those affected by COPD know that they are not alone. All individuals with COPD deserve to have a community behind them that will celebrate their triumphs and support them through their struggles, and I hope to provide that as a COPD Foundation Captain. I plan to achieve these goals through community events, raising awareness, advocacy, and fundraising. I also would love to hear your suggestions, so please reach out to me if you have any ideas or would just like to talk! :)

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Rickie Daniels

Rickie Daniels Profile Photo Fredericksburg, Virginia
indihoma@aol.com

I have been a COPD patient for a number of years and was encouraged to meet with our local lung disease support group shortly after my diagnosis. I thoroughly enjoyed meeting with everyone.

As time went by our group leader became seriously ill, and she asked that I take over her job. With great reservation I picked the reins and haven’t looked back. We have monthly meetings and two socials a year. We’re always on the lookout for speakers to bring new ideas and the latest industry items to preview. My biggest hope for my members is that they will "BE THEIR OWN BEST ADVOCATE", never to sit back and wait for things to happen. My biggest worry is that patients are given oxygen tanks and sent on their way without hope, education or encouragement. Some of our meetings include representatives from our Congressional District office, leaders from our local DME providers, and RTs from the local hospitals.

My favorite saying is "Never say Never" – The year prior to COVID our hospital Navigator organized a COPD Day at the hospital. Many booths from various trades were present and our booth was in the center of it all. It was a very enjoyable day. During COVID I hosted a monthly ZOOM meeting which was great fun.

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Mary Ellen O’Rourke

Mary Ellen O’Rourke Profile Photo Naperville, Illinois
0rourke616@gmail .com

Greetings! My name is Mary Ellen O' Rourke . I have been happily married for 50 years to my husband, Rick. I have three married daughters and 11 grandchildren so far! I have lived in Naperville, Illinois area for 40 years.

I believe that I would be a good State Captain in Naperville because I relate well to all kinds of people and have never met a stranger. I have run discussion groups with all kinds of groups. I want to encourage people to take advantage of all the opportunities this Foundation has to offer to them with a positive outlook.

I was diagnosed with severe COPD 6 years ago, yet I never smoked! My doctors never discussed COPD with me. Fortunately, I stumbled on this COPD site and it was a godsend to me! The education on this site gives me information on types of medicines, and dealing with stress, as well as a network of COPD people who support me and each other through our journeys. I tell my family and friends about my limitations and now they are more patient with me.

I am interested in being a State Captain because I feel COPD is a silent passage for many of us. I want to share the good news that the Foundation provides. I want to encourage others with COPD to not feel alone. The COPD Foundation will empower those with COPD and their loved ones with new ways to live healthier and fuller lives. It is important for me to spread that good news about the COPD Foundation. I want to pay forward this gift to me. I am excited to be a part of such an excellent organization.

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Roshni Solomon

Roshni Solomon Profile Photo Unionville, CT
roshnisolomon712@gmail.com

Greetings! My name is Roshni Solomon.

I am an energetic and cooperative high school student who would like to give back to the community.

My grandfather passed away from COPD/smoking few years ago. His passing showed me the severity of this illness and created this need for me to take action and help others that are going through this.

As I grow up, I see kids my age vaping. This is clearly a serious problem in my generation/age group. By vaping, those people are opening themselves up to the possible use of nicotine cigarettes, which would most definitely have detrimental effects on their health, I would like to talk to them about prevention and spread awareness in my community. As a State Captain, I would like to reach out to the kids in my community and make them aware of the deadly effect of smoking.

My favorite quote - and I follow this.

"I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples" - Mother Teresa

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Dr. Tabatha Dragonberry

Dr. Tabatha Dragonberry  Profile Photo Converse, Texas
dragonberry@uthscsa.edu

Dr. Tabatha Dragonberry has been a respiratory therapist for over 15 years. She is a passionate educator teaching patients, students, and respiratory care professionals. Currently, she is an assistant professor at UT Health San Antonio and the Director of Online Education for the Degree Advancement Programs. She has worked in various environments including neonatal/pediatrics, adult critical and acute care, home care, and leadership.

As a State Captain for Texas, she wants to help educate and empower those with COPD and their families to live their fullest lives possible!

Her favorite quote is, “Save a life – you are a hero; Save 100 lives – you are an RT”- unknown

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Sheryl Martinez

Sheryl Martinez Profile Photo Shenandoah, Iowa
sheryl9000@gmail.com

I'm Sheryl and am a COPD Foundation State Captain from Iowa. As a captain I hope to raise awareness and have fundraisers that will help with the prevention of COPD, and more importantly in finding a cure.

My main passion for being a captain is to let people know that stopping smoking, beginning to exercise, and eating healthy will help to give them a longer and more productive life. Also, keeping the most positive attitude possible will definitely help you accomplish those three things. I don't think most patients hear that those things will help their breathing and lives until later. Once they have progressed to that point it's really hard and they just don't have the energy to do them. However, I'm a firm believer that it is never too late to start.

I want you to know that I live with COPD, and spent some time being very sick -even to the point of nearly dying. But by quitting smoking, exercising, and eating healthy I have brought myself back from near death to an active and productive life. My goal is to accomplish important things in order to make the lives of COPD patients as easy as possible.

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Skyler Hughes

Skyler Hughes  Profile Photo Owensboro, Kentucky
kentuckycopdcaptain_27@yahoo.com

My name is Skyler Hughes. I am the COPD/Sepsis Clinical Program Specialist at Owensboro Health Regional Hospital. I am a registered nurse and have worked with COPD patients in multiple settings including the emergency department, case management and home health care and as a leader of our inpatient COPD program. I enjoy educating and serving patients to provide them with the knowledge and resources they need to live a fulfilling life. Outside of work, I am a wife, step-mom to an amazing growing boy, and fur-momma to a rambunctious dog and cat. My family is my biggest blessing in life. I love to spend time with friends and I am a huge fan of classic country music.

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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!