Help For People With COPD

By Valerie Chang
Wednesday - August 24, 2011 Share

By Valerie Chang, Executive Director,
Hawaii COPD Coalition

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is an umbrella term for emphysema, chronic bronchitis and chronic asthma in adults. More than 30,000 adults in Hawaii have been diagnosed with this lung disease, and another 30,000 are undiagnosed. It costs more than $55 million per year in Hawaii for COPD hospitalizations. It is the third leading cause of death and second leading cause of disability in the U.S. About nine in 10 people with COPD got it from smoking cigarettes. The others contracted it from toxic work environments or genetic causes.

The Hawaii COPD Coalition was formed in 2007 as a non-profit corporation to provide services and support for people who are affected by COPD. That year, the coalition launched Project SUCCESS (Spirometry-Urged Cessation through Counseling Education and Sustained Support), funded by the Tobacco Prevention and Control Trust Fund of the Hawaii Community Foundation.

Services include clinics throughout the state with free blood pressure, breathing tests, counseling and smoking cessation information, monthly patient and caregiver support groups, an annual COPD Education Day, professional development and continuing education for health care providers, and presentations at international conferences.

Spirometry tests measure lung function. Photo courtesy of COPD

Clinics have been held on Maui, Kauai, the Big Island and in many neighborhoods throughout Oahu. During the next 12 months, we will add clinics on Molokai and Lanai thanks to a partnership with the Ohana Health Plan and WE: a hui for health with Project Vision Hawaii, community partners including the Lions Clubs, community health centers, Ke Ola Mamo and a grant from Kaiser Permanente Hawaii. In 2011, twice as many clinics will be held as in prior years (from 20 to 40). Services and materials are provided to dozens of people at each clinic.

Please join us Sept. 10 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Queen’s Conference Center for the fifth annual COPD Education Day, “Do it Yourself Health!” Patients, caregivers and health care providers are warmly invited to this free event. For more information, go to or call 6999839. Email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) to pre-register. Help us meet the challenge of reaching out to the thousands of COPD patients in Hawaii. They often “get lost in the shuffle” of traditional health care delivery. We want to provide resources at locations and times convenient to them. Come and learn more by participating at one of our events! Hope to see you there!

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