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

Karla Enderle

Karla Enderle Profile Photo Fayetteville, AR

As a respiratory therapist and the newest State Captain for Arkansas, I hope to accomplish giving COPD Patients a voice. So many people in general do not understand lung disease but it's truly amazing how many in healthcare are so uneducated on this subject as well. When our PCPs, PAs, and APNs are so uninformed on proper diagnosis and management of COPD , it's not shocking that we have politicians, CEOs, Etc. making horrible decisions that affect all of our lives pertaining to COPD/disease management. This is an huge issue that could be fixed, with time, willing participants, and education.

As a COPD advocate, I have spoken to my family and friends about COPD, and I have participated in health fairs or community events to promote COPD awareness.

As a State Captain, I am interested in participating and promoting research opportunities to help find a cure, and in 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.

My proudest COPD moment. “I have been an advocate for COPD patients since becoming a RRT but since starting at the VA 6 1/2 years ago, I've been fighting to start an education clinic for our Veterans. On 7/3/18, I finally got to do just this. It is a very, very slow process that I physically am unable to participate in because, due to extremely low staffing in the respiratory department, I am needed in all other areas of the facility. ex: Outpatient Clinic, Inpatient Acute Care, assisting with Diagnostic Bronchoscopies’ as needed I can say I have an amazing TEAM that is working incredibly hard via Telehealth utilizing the materials we put together and so far, things are working out. I hope to be a strong leader in COPD Education and Pulmonary Disease Management in the near future. Our patients can have a better quality of life if provided the tools needed to live hand in hand with their disease process. COPD is not an immediate death sentence. Patients should understand that they can still walk their dog and play with their grandchildren if we give them the needed information on how to prevent disease progression as well as maintain and control their symptoms to the best of their ability”

My inspiration to share is, “Learn how to exhale, the inhale will take care of itself”--Carla Melucci Ardito


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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!