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Launch of the First-Ever COPD National Action Plan

(May 22, 2017)

On May 22, 2017, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) announced the first ever COPD National Action Plan. The American Lung Association served as a lead partner on the Action Plan. The plan was shared at the American Thoracic Society annual conference in Washington D.C. alongside the American Lung Association and stakeholder organizations, with key goals of the plan that include the call for greater public awareness of COPD risk factors, improved quality of care and increased research efforts surrounding chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

"To better support those living with COPD, a multipronged and comprehensive approach is needed from a variety of federal and nonfederal stakeholders nationwide," Wimmer said. "Healthcare providers, patient advocacy groups and federal agency partners will all need to play a role to adequately address COPD—a leading cause of death and disability in our nation—under the guidance of the shared vision to address COPD outlined in the COPD National Action Plan. We're proud to support and work alongside NHLBI and other stakeholders nationwide to help implement the plan to reduce the burden of COPD on patients and caregivers."


From left to right: Grace Ann Dorney Koppel, Dr. MeiLan Han, Dr. Jim Kiley, NHLBI, Harold Wimmer.

More than 11 million Americans are living with COPD and it is the third leading cause of death in the United States. A variety of risk factors are associated with COPD, including smoking, air pollution, secondhand smoke, dust, fumes and chemicals. To address prevention of COPD, the plan also focuses on risk factors and calls for increased access to tobacco cessation services, prevention strategies to limit exposure to tobacco, and other objectives that include increased disease tracking to help improve COPD prevention and management.

"This chronic lung disease places a huge burden on those living with the disease, and many struggle for breath even during their normal daily routine," Wimmer said. "The American Lung Association strongly supports the strategies put forth through the new COPD National Action Plan, which will not only save lives but also improve the quality of life for those living with COPD."

The Lung Association has long served as a top resource for lung health, and will continue its work to raise awareness about all lung diseases, including COPD. For those living with COPD, the Lung Association offers support through Better Breathers Clubs, in-person support groups for patients and caregivers, and the Living with COPD Online Support Community, along with a wealth of resources to help those living with COPD improve their quality of life.

Visit to learn more about the COPD National Action Plan and for resources on living with or caring for someone with COPD.

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