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

Kelle Oestreich

Kelle Oestreich Profile Photo Bucyrus, KS

As a respiratory therapist, and the first state captain from Kansas, I hope to accomplish utilizing my experience and knowledge of evidence-based strategies to address the current health care disparities in COPD. I am passionate about quality health care and would like to decrease the disease burden for COPD patients through advocacy and education.

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 working with state, local, and national officials to improve COPD policy. I would also like to raise awareness by participating in health fairs and community events, and write about COPD to share my story and help raise awareness.

My proudest COPD moment has been when patients thank me for taking the time to educate them on their condition.

My inspiration to share is, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has. -Margaret Mead

More about me, “I earned my undergraduate degree in Respiratory Care from the University of Kansas in 1999. In May of 2018, I graduated summa cum laude with a Masters in health care quality from The George Washington University. My current passion is educating the next generation of respiratory therapists at Johnson County Community College in Overland Park, Kansas”


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!