Stakeholders Meet to Draft Statewide COPD Action Plan in New York

NEW YORK, NY (06/09/2010)(readMedia)-- The New York COPD Coalition Summit, which is taking place June 11th, will focus on creating a COPD Action Plan for the state.

The summit will bring together the COPD Foundation and other members of the New York COPD Coalition to collaborate and create a comprehensive document that will state the rationale for addressing COPD statewide. It will also present objectives and strategies for how to combat the burden of COPD in New York.

Co-chairs of the COPD Coalition, Neil Schachter, MD, Mount Sinai Medical Center and Byron Thomashow, MD, Columbia-New York Presbyterian Hospital, say the Summit will focus on the impact of COPD in the state.

"Millions of people nationwide unknowingly suffer from COPD. Many of these people go untreated and remain symptomatic but undiagnosed," Thomashow says. "This is a nationwide problem, but a big problem in the state of New York. Hopefully the New York Coalition, as well as other state coalitions, will mobilize the health care community to improve our efforts to prevent, diagnose and treat this disease."

Schachter says the perception of COPD has gone from no recognition to people realizing its importance.

"The great thing is state by state, the Coalition is organizing these summits so that there can be groups in each state that represent the needs of our COPD patients," he says. "It's an opportunity to get many interested parties in the state of New York together to share their questions and needs at all levels-advocacy, patient care, support groups."

Schachter also says the Summit will hopefully result in giving the Coalition members a "better idea of what's going on in the state and meet needs."

"It's an exciting time for the community. Not only are we making a lot of advances for advocacy through better clinical practice, there are lots of people working on research, too," he says. "It will help treat the disease better, and to reverse and prevent this disease."

The action plan formulated at the Summit will take a comprehensive approach to tackle the knowledge gap issues with programs for health care providers and COPDers (both diagnosed and undiagnosed members of the general public) through employer programs, state public health programs, and the like.

Scott T. Santarella, President and CEO of the American Lung Association in New York, says the Summit is the "critical first step needed to ensure a comprehensive and effective plan to reach New Yorkers with COPD is in place."

"There are many New Yorkers who suffer from COPD and many more who are unaware they even have the disease," Santarella says.

He says the ultimate goal of the Summit is to help COPDers better manage their disease and live healthier lives.

Jamie Lamson, Program Director for the U.S. COPD Coalition, says there is a need to include all types of stakeholders in this effort, including those outside the healthcare system.

"We have to take a comprehensive approach to addressing COPD since its effects are felt not just in the lungs of the patients," she says.

The morning sessions of the Summit will be informational, presenting issues in COPD and initiatives currently underway. There will be discussion about the basics of COPD, management, public policy and data surveillance. In the afternoon, there will be sessions focused on drafting the New York COPD Action Plan.

Attendees include health care professionals, COPDers, public health professionals, policy makers, employers, industry and insurers. Registration information is provided here.

About COPD

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is the fourth leading cause of death in the U.S. and the only chronic disease growing in mortality. It affects approximately 24 million Americans but only 12 million are diagnosed. COPD includes chronic bronchitis, emphysema, and adult onset (refractory) asthma. Symptoms include breathlessness, wheezing, and chronic coughing. Visit or call 1-866-316-COPD (2673).

About the COPD Foundation

The COPD Foundation is dedicated to developing and supporting programs which improve the quality of life through research, education, early diagnosis, and enhanced therapy for persons whose lives are impacted by Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). The COPD Foundation has several programs dedicated to informing, empowering, educating, and engaging individuals affected by COPD, including both diagnosed and undiagnosed individuals, their families and friends, and their medical professionals. For more information, please visit:

About The American Lung Association in New York

Now in its second century, the American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease. With your generous support, the American Lung Association is "Fighting for Air" through research, education and advocacy. For more information about the American Lung Association or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNG-USA (1-800-586-4872) or visit