COPD National Action Plan:
Community Action Tool
Discover the progress the COPD community has made toward implementing the goals and objectives in the COPD National Action Plan.

World COPD Day 2020


Organization: Breathe California of the Bay Area, Golden Gate, and Central Coast
Start Date: October 2020
End Date: November 2020
Primary Goal: Goal 1: Empower people with COPD, their families, and caregivers to recognize and reduce the burden of COPD.
Secondary Goal(s):
  • Goal 5: Translate national policy, educational, and program recommendations into research and public health care actions.
  • Increase public awareness of the risk factors and symptoms of COPD so that earlier diagnosis of symptomatic individuals becomes the norm
  • Increase the effectiveness and variety of outreach communication campaigns and activities that utilize evidence-based approaches to raise awareness of COPD, particularly among those at high risk, and help people diagnosed with COPD manage the disease
  • Expand opportunities to increase COPD awareness across the public-private spectrum
  • Put into action prevention strategies that are proven effective in addressing the 80 percent of COPD deaths due to smoking
  • Strengthen the public health infrastructure for addressing COPD
Collaboration: Peninsula Health Care District; City of San Jose Senior Health and Wellness Program; El Camino Health; San Jose State University Occupational Therapy Department and Public Health Program; Yoga Bharati; the Emphysema Foundation of America; and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.
Activity Type: Patient education, Event, Campaign, Provider education

Activity Description

On November 19, in conjunction with World COPD Day, Breathe California of the Bay Area hosted a free, live, online educational conference on Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). The workshop and activities reached about 70 people, with another 40 viewing the event on-line after. Attendees included patients, caregivers, public health and respiratory therapy students, medical professionals, and others.

COPD refers to a group of diseases that cause airflow blockage and breathing-related problems, including chronic bronchitis and emphysema and is the fourth leading cause of death in the US. About 10 million people have been diagnosed with the disease, and around 24 million people remain undiagnosed. COPD is mainly caused by smoking, but it is also caused by air pollution, including workplace exposures.

The workshop started with keynote speaker, Antonello Punturieri, M.D., Ph.D., Program Director of the Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease/Environment Program at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute’s Division of Lung Disease who presented the status of COPD in the U.S., current NHLBI work, and emerging treatments. Other workshop speakers included: Jerilyn Smith, PhD, OTR/L, SWC, FAOTA Occupational Therapy Department Chair at San Jose State University: Ashwini Surpur, Executive Director of Yoga Bharati: and Dr. Sulochina Lulla, board-certified in pulmonology and asthma, allergy, and immunology. Attendees heard information to improve quality of life, breathing exercises to calm COPD patients and increase vitality, and an “Ask the Doctor” session with questions from medication to cleaning respiratory therapy equipment, and participated in an educational bingo game.


General Audience: Patients, Caregivers or family members, At-risk populations, General public, Health professionals, Policymakers/advocates
Focused Audience: n/a
Program Reach: Local: SFBay Area CA
Type of Area: Urban, Suburban
Setting: Community, Home, Online

Cost and Funding Sources

Direct costs for the event were very low because the conference was delivered virtually due to COVID. There was no venue to rent, food to provide, or supplies and materials. Speakers were all volunteers. The main cost was for outreach: mailings, fliers, newspaper ads, development of earned media (PSAs and news releases), and recording/posting the video, all totaling about $5,000. There were minor expenses for door prizes and bingo prizes (about $200) and some miscellaneous expenses such as upgraded Zoom coverage and thank-you gifts ($200). Those expenses were shared by the partners listed above.

Impact Analysis

We had 40 attendees and another 14 “panelists” who stayed throughout the conference and their activity. It was a very mixed crowd with 17 patients, 5 caregivers, an MD, an RT, a pharmacy rep, 3 respiratory therapy students, 7 public health students, and several who just identified as wanting to know more about COPD. Within 2 days there were 29 views of the recorded video and 49 posts.

From poll input:
Why they came: 81% came because of the expert speakers! 19% came for the Breathing Exercises.
How they heard about the conference: 56% heard about it from word of mouth; 31% from emails, mail, and social media; and 13% from the newspaper.
What they learned: 69% learned a lot; and 31% learned a little.
What they will do with the information they learned: 50% will use it to improve their /their patients’ COPD; 44% will share this information with others; and 6% will seek more testing.

Advice or Lessons Learned

When working with a virtual platform for an event, it is really important to over-plan for any technical difficulties and make sure all people involved practice their roles. In addition, plan for normal contingencies, such as a presenter falling ill. One of our participants had a good idea: take a few minutes to explain the program being used, such as Zoom, to the participants if you are going to allow them to be unmuted and on camera, especially if they are seniors who are not familiar with online platforms.

Contact Information

Margo Sidener
Breathe California of the Bay Area, Golden Gate, and Central Coast
San Jose