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

Dawn Fortner

Dawn Fortner  Profile Photo Sapulpa, OK

As a Registered Respiratory Therapist and COPD Navigator, I am thrilled to apply my professional knowledge and background into the State Captain role in Oklahoma. As a State Captain, I want to be an advocate for patients and caregivers. I want to help eliminate the stigma behind the disease and create awareness. I want to be a voice for those who need it and educate others. I want to empower others to take control of their disease and give them the tools to care for themselves.

As a COPD advocate I have emailed my elected officials, spoken to my family and friends about COPD, and a host weekly support group, provide patient education, and patient advocacy. Additionally, I help to find resources for patients with COPD who are uninsured, underinsured, and help low income individuals who cannot afford their medications. I also help patients with tobacco cessation, and teach at pulmonary rehabilitation.

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

My proudest COPD moment has been in my past three months in this role, I had one patient who was admitted to the hospital five times. She was self-pay, with no insurance. I was able to connect her with the appropriate resources to get her the medications she needed, enroll her in pulmonary rehab, and connect her with a primary care physician. Her COPD is now under control. She is actively participating in pulmonary rehab and benefiting. Her quality of life is improving and she has not been in the hospital or emergency room in three months. Helping her find what she needed to regain her independence has been a thrill to watch.

My inspiration to share is, “Let the beauty of what you love be what you do”- Rumi


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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 for questions and to start the onboarding process today!