American Lung Association Partners with U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to Improve Lung Health of Veterans

Partnership will increase veterans’ access to information about lung disease, support for symptom management and educational opportunities for healthcare professionals

The American Lung Association announced today it is partnering with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to help improve the lung health and quality of life for veterans with lung disease and their families.

A joint pilot program in 2019 aimed at addressing lung cancer among US Veterans through access to cessation services proved to improve both confidence and knowledge in participants. Building on that success, the Lung Association and VA are exploring further opportunities to collaborate. Veterans will have access to self-management tools that include information about lung disease and resources to help veterans manage symptoms and improve their lung health. Additionally, the Lung Association and VA are committed to increasing educational and training opportunities for healthcare professionals who care for veterans with lung disease. 

“The American Lung Association has been an active supporter of veterans’ health, including our history of encouraging veterans who may be at high risk for lung cancer to talk to their doctor about lung cancer screening,” said American Lung Association President and CEO Harold Wimmer. “The Lung Association is pleased to partner with the VA and save lives by improving veterans’ lung health.”

Exposure to respiratory hazards during combat is one risk factor for lung disease in veterans. Those diseases include lung cancer, asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). A 2016 study led by VA found an uptick in lung disease among Veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. 

The Lung Association is helping veterans with the following offerings:

  • A dedicated webpage on Lung.org devoted to lung health 
  • Access to local support groups and online educational resources for veterans with chronic lung disease and their caregivers to learn and share through our Better Breathers Network.  
  • Providing a pre-paid 1-year membership ($99.95 value) to American Lung Association’s proven-effective cessation program Freedom From Smoking® Plus available online through any digital device for veterans wanting to quit tobacco use for good. To register visit bit.ly/FFSPlusVeteran
  • A free 1-hour on-demand brief tobacco intervention Ask, Advise, Refer to Quit, Don’t Switch training to VA clinicians and healthcare professionals working with Veterans through Lung.training
  • Promoting its Lung HelpLine (1-800-LUNGUSA) and online submission form for people to ask questions about lung diseases and COVID-19, as well as smoking cessation.
  • Sharing up-to-date information on topics such as COVID-19 signs and symptoms, stopping the spread, and addressing myths about lung illnesses on its award-winning Each Breath blog.

“We are proud to partner with the American Lung Association,” said Claibe Yarbrough, M.D., VA National Program Director, Pulmonary/Critical Care/Sleep Medicine. “VA providers treat patients with the entire spectrum of lung diseases. Veterans will now also benefit from support groups and accompanying resources, comradery, and educational materials available from the ALA’s Better Breathers.” 

For media interested in speaking with an expert, contact the American Lung Association at [email protected] or 312-801-7631. 

For more information, contact:

Elizabeth Cook
312-801-7631
[email protected]

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