Valerie Chang

Valerie Chang

Valerie is a member of the Lung Association’s COPD Patient Advisory Group. She is the Founder and Executive Director of the Hawaii COPD Coalition. She also serves as Vice Chair of the U.S. COPD Coalition and is involved with the COPD Foundation.

For as long as she can remember, Valerie has lived with a lung disease. She has had asthma since she was a young child. Later in her life, she was diagnosed with moderate to severe emphysema/COPD in 2000 as a mother with two children in grade school.

When Valerie first learned of her COPD diagnosis, she felt devastated. She was even more upset after reading everything she could about her prognosis at her local library. It was scary to wake up every night feeling breathless. She also felt unhappy that she could not keep up with her husband, kids and friends when they hiked during their travels.

To get diagnosed and in search of more information about her condition, Valerie flew from Honolulu to National Jewish Health in Denver. She received treatment advice there and got an email address and cell phone to stay in touch with her doctor and connect him with her care team at home. Valerie also learned how to do medical searches online and began attending medical conferences. She eventually started her own nonprofit, the Hawaii COPD Coalition, which is how she eventually got connected to the American Lung Association in Hawaii.

Valerie enjoys being on the COPD Patient Advisory Group and communicating with researchers, patients and caregivers. Her husband and children also live with asthma and she recognizes that both asthma and COPD are incredibly important issues. She is happy to help and be able to improve the breathing of folks in our community and world.

Valerie is an attorney by training and has held various roles, including a special education hearing officer and a trial judge. She is married with two children. Outside of her work, she loves attending community theater, dining out and traveling.

Page last updated: August 22, 2023

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