News Release

Thursday, October 1, 2009

The NHLBI's COPD Learn More Breathe Better Campaign Expands Community Network

The NHLBI Funds Fifteen Community Organizations to Conduct COPD Education.

The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) of the National Institutes of Health has approved the award of 15 contracts under its communications contract with Porter Novelli totaling $462,000 to leading community-based lung health organizations from New Hampshire to California to support efforts to improve awareness and understanding of COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), the nation’s fourth leading cause of death.

The new awards support the goals of the NHLBI's COPD Learn More Breathe Better campaign – and will enable organizations to prepare state action plans, educate health care providers, and bring greater awareness about COPD and its symptoms, the importance of early diagnosis, and treatments to those at risk for or living with the disease. It is anticipated that the programs will be completed by October 2010.

This community partnership network is designed to broaden the reach of the national campaign effort, which was developed by NHLBI to help bridge the gap in awareness about this highly prevalent disease.

"One in five Americans over the age of 45 has COPD but as many as half may not even be aware of it. More and more organizations are joining the NHLBI in taking on the challenge of improving understanding of this common disease," said Elizabeth G. Nabel, M.D., director, NHLBI. "We’re pleased to support these prominent organizations as they carry forward important messages about COPD detection and treatment."

Since the campaign began in 2006, more than 25 states have initiated COPD education programs or convened coalitions in support of developing plans of action.

The NHLBI provides education materials, a Web site and additional communications tools for community partners. The campaign targets the needs of the public, including those at risk for COPD, people with COPD who are undiagnosed, and those already diagnosed with the disease. The campaign also focuses on reaching health care professionals, specifically primary care providers, to increase early detection, proper diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

"The NHLBI's support of community organizations will help build capacity and sustain the momentum among organizations seeking to improve the lives of people with COPD," said John Walsh, president, COPD Foundation, a partner of the Learn More Breathe Better campaign since its inception. "We look forward to working in collaboration with NHLBI as the campaign and its network of partners grows."

Ten organizations will each receive between $25,000 and $47,000 to conduct programs reaching people at-risk for COPD, patients, or health care providers, or to coordinate state coalitions:

  • Breathe LA, Los Angeles
  • Breathe New Hampshire, Bedford, N.H.
  • Respiratory Health Association of Metropolitan Chicago, Chicago
  • Kentucky Department for Health/Kentucky Respiratory Disease Program, Frankfort, Ky.
  • COPD Foundation/Florida COPD Coalition, Miami, Fla.
  • D.C. Area Health Education Center, District of Columbia
  • American Lung Association in Colorado, Greenwood Village, Colo.
  • Virginia Association of Health Plans and Medical Society of Virginia, for the Virginia COPD Task Force, Richmond, Va.
  • American Lung Association of North Carolina/North Carolina COPD Task Force, Raleigh, N.C.
  • American Lung Association of the Upper Midwest, Chicago

Five organizations will receive $15,000 to convene coalitions or task forces, and conduct state-wide summits:

  • American Lung Association in Maryland/Maryland COPD Task Force, Hunt Valley, Md.
  • American Lung Association in New York, Albany, N.Y.
  • American Lung Association in Utah, Salt Lake City
  • American Lung Association in New Mexico, Albuquerque, N.M.
  • American Lung Association of Missouri, St. Louis

Part of the National Institutes of Health, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) plans, conducts, and supports research related to the causes, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of heart, blood vessel, lung, and blood diseases; and sleep disorders. The Institute also administers national health education campaigns on women and heart disease, healthy weight for children, and other topics. NHLBI press releases and other materials are available online at

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit

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The COPD Learn More Breathe Better Campaign:

Diseases and Conditions Index: COPD: