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

Rita Newman

Rita Newman Profile Photo Sherwood, Arkansas

I have been a respiratory therapist for over 30 years and have been involved most of that time with critical care therapy but always caring for COPD patients. I now teach COPD education to the patients, which has opened a completely new avenue for me. I want to get more advocates involved in COPD awareness, so we can create more attention to this disease and hopefully increase funding for research.

As State Captain I hope to get more people involved with COPD advocacy and to get more information out to patients in the community to help educate them so they can better take care of their disease.

My proudest COPD moment is each and every Better Breathers Club meeting that I facilitate once a month.

My inspiration to share, education is power.


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 for questions and to start the onboarding process today!