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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Suzan Michelle Collins BSRT, RRT

Suzan Michelle Collins BSRT, RRT Profile Photo Phippsburg, Maine
maine@copdfoundation.org

Over my 25 years in healthcare, I have seen the struggles of COPD patients on many levels from the inability to access needed medication, lack of family support, impact from repeated hospitalizations and the overall feeling of fear and hopelessness.

As State Captain I hope to increase awareness; create a community of volunteers to aid in creating and maintaining a community for those with COPD; have self-sustaining harmonicas for health programs across the state of Maine; assist medical communities with establishing and maintaining a COPD case management plan; assist with advocating for the COPD community on a local and national level; assist medical facilities with developing and maintaining Alpha-1 screening and education; participate in health fairs and offer screening and teaching/instruction about COPD and Alpha-1; create a system that identifies people with COPD at earlier stages in the disease process and assist each person with COPD with having a better quality of life.

My proudest COPD moment was when a wife said that she wanted to pay for two other people to be able to participate in the Harmonicas for Health program because of the tremendous difference she saw in her husband just after two weeks of participating in the program.

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Toni Caldwell

Toni Caldwell Profile Photo North Wales, PA
toniere.caldwell@jefferson.edu

As a State Captain for Pennsylvania, an RRT and a COPD Educator, I would like to increase community awareness of COPD, educate my patients about their disease & symptom management. I would also like to learn about what resources are out in the community for my patients.

As a COPD advocate I have educated RNs, aides, case manager, social workers, and physical & occupational therapists on COPD medication, disease and symptom management.

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, as well as working with state, local, and national officials to improve COPD policy. I would also like to host and participate in fundraisers to support my community, and to raise awareness by participating in health fairs and community events.

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Regina Bradshaw

Regina Bradshaw Profile Photo Fayetteville, Arkansas
gabradshaw@live.com

As the first COPD patient advocate and State Captain for Arkansas, I hope to accomplish bringing more awareness to others about COPD. I want others to understand that it not only affects the lungs, but other parts of the body as well. I want others to understand just how important breathing is for those of us that have COPD. I want my elected officials to understand just how important funding is to support research to find a cure.

As a COPD advocate, I have spoken to my family and friends about COPD, have signed up for COPD360social, and have started a COPD fundraising campaign.

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

Bob Sobkowiak Profile Photo Cape Coral, Florida
bobs@copdbreathestrong.org

I am a Respiratory Therapist and have worked in home care, hospitals and as an educator for my entire life. I have worked with the Florida COPD Coalition since the beginning and helped to create the community education workshop model for bringing patients and providers together in a community for a day of learning and sharing.

As a State Captain, I hope to Connect, Engage, and Empower the Florida COPD Community of providers,patients, and caregivers and to continue to develop and implement BREATHE STRONG Support for COPD self-management.

My proudest COPD moment was meeting and working with John Walsh and Nick Jones. They have inspired the BREATHE STRONG Initiative for strengthening the Florida COPD Coalition.

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Yvonne Gamelin

Yvonne Gamelin Profile Photo Roxbury, Connecticut
connecticut03@copdfoundation.org

As State Captain I hope to build awareness and collaborate with pulmonary rehab, pulmonologists, colleges, and EMS to increase access to health and raise political awareness as well.

Some of my advocacy work includes speaking at the 2017 Readmissions Summit and the Advisory Board. I have also met with Senator Gail Slossberg and work with nursing and respiratory therapist schools to help develop events and education.

My inspiration to share is, wellness maintained is quality of life lived!

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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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Caroline Gainer

Caroline Gainer Profile Photo Daniels, West Virginia
ctgainer@suddenlink.net

As the newest State Captain from West Virginia, I hope to help elevate the care for COPD patients in my community and create public awareness of the disease. I hope to get elected officials to take actions that will promote the well being of local COPD patients.

As a COPD advocate I have met, called, sent letters and emailed my elected officials. Additionally, I have participated in COPD research opportunities such as the COPD PPRN, have signed up for COPD360Social, and have spoken to my family and friends about COPD.

As a State Captain, my interests include participating and promoting research opportunities to help find a cure, and connecting others in the COPD community to the resources available so they can live healthier and fuller lives. I am also interested in working with state, local, and national officials to improve COPD Policy.

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Sarah Tencza

Sarah Tencza Profile Photo Catonsville, MD
sarahtencza@umm.edu

As a respiratory therapist and the newest State Captain from Maryland, I hope to accomplish increasing awareness of COPD in the community. I also want to provide education to those affected by COPD and their family members.

As a COPD advocate, I have participated in health fairs or community events to promote COPD awareness, and am a Better Breathers Club facilitator.

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 work with state, local, and national officials to improve COPD policy and host and participate in fundraisers to support my community.

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Kathy Mitzel

Kathy Mitzel Profile Photo Aberdeen, South Dakota
kmitzel@hotmail.com

As a Respiratory Therapist and the newest State Captain for South Dakota, I hope to accomplish increasing awareness and treatment options in my community and surrounding areas.

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 met with my elected officials to discuss COPD policies. This year I was chosen to represent my state of South Dakota in Washington DC as a PACT member to advocate for Respiratory Therapists and Telehealth in our communities.

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

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Holly Flaugher

Holly Flaugher Profile Photo McDermott, OH
hineshol@yahoo.com

As a respiratory therapist, and the newest State Captain from Ohio, I hope to accomplish educating the public and offering support for those dealing with pulmonary diseases.

As a COPD advocate, I have spoken to my family and friends about COPD, 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 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 hosting and participating in fundraisers to support my community. I would also like to participate in research opportunities to help find a cure.

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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!