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

Stephen Wehrman

Stephen Wehrman Profile Photo Vancouver, WA

As a respiratory therapist and State Captain for Washington, I hope to create a state network of like-minded individuals, coordinate resources, increase the number of support groups and provide rural outreach programs, raise governmental awareness and get more resources to help those living with COPD. I am also writing a book called, “How to Improve Your Lungs at Home in 12 weeks”.

As a COPD advocate, I have met, called, and emailed my elected officials. Additionally, I have participated in health fairs and community events to promote COPD awareness, have written about COPD in a local newspaper, and have spoken to my family and friends about COPD.

As a State Captain, my interests include providing improved access to underserved COPD patients, recruiting new State Captains and volunteers, and by connecting others in the COPD community to the resources available so they can live healthier and fuller lives.

My proudest COPD moment has been helping get CMS to approve Spiriva for my mother and helping to start a pulmonary rehab program for Hawaii.

My inspiration to share is, “Life is not measured by the breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.” I also believe this Hawaiian phrase, “I Ka Hanu O Ke Ola”, which in English means "In breath is life". This is the motto of my respiratory program.


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!