HomePatientsLung Disease Week at the ATS2015 ▶ COPD Week

Emphysema / COPD Week

Welcome Message

In the past few years, COPD has moved up to be the 3rd leading cause of death in the United States. Although the disease claims more lives in the United States than any disease other than heart disease and cancer, it receives a fraction of NIH research funding compared to other diseases that claim fewer deaths but receive more publicity.

COPD was once considered a terminal diagnosis, but now it is treated as a chronic disease. With modern advances in medical and surgical therapy combined with careful attention to lifestyle factors and self-management strategies commonly available at pulmonary rehabilitation programs, patients with COPD can often live many high-quality years after diagnosis.

Fortunately, organizations like the American Thoracic Society Foundation and EFFORTS are allocating resources and energy to work toward an improved understanding and even a cure for COPD. In 2014, Xavier Soler, MD, PhD was funded by ATS to study the Pathophysiology of Obstructive Sleep Apnea affecting COPD and Merry-Lynn McDonald, PhD was funded to study Muscle Wasting in COPD. The American Thoracic Society has also published many patient education and professional publications to support patients, caregivers, and clinicians in accessing the best evidence-based treatments for COPD.

With its diverse membership of physicians, nurses, researchers, and other health care professionals and its position as an international leader in lung health, ATS is uniquely positioned to bring together clinicians, basic scientists, industry, and government to bring relief to patients living with COPD. This week, we partner with EFFORTS to bring attention to the important issue of living with and curing COPD.


DorAnne M. Donesky, PhD, ANP-BC

DorAnne M. Donesky, PhD, ANP-BC
Associate Professor of Physiological Nursing
University of California, San Francisco
Member, ATS Board of Directors

Jean M. Rommes

Jean M. Rommes
EFFORTS Executive Board Member
Member, ATS Public Advisory Roundtable




EFFORTS is a patient-run organization.  The most important thing we do is manage the listserv, which is monitored by volunteers and open to COPD patients everywhere.  We currently have over 2500 members, many of whom simply read the list postings and some who post regularly nearly every day.  This is a place where people can ask questions and no question is considered stupid or dumb.  We recognize that we all come to this disease with varying levels of knowledge, from absolutely no knowledge to a good understanding of COPD, and that patient education is absolutely critical to being able to manage and control this chronic condition.  Many of our members credit the list for giving them the information they needed to first survive and then learn how to thrive with COPD.  Others found that the listserv validated what they had learned on their own and were able to share that information with others.

The website is primarily a place to find resources.  Much of the information contained is links to other websites.  The webpage is maintained by volunteers, some of whom struggle mightily with their health concerns.  It’s not as up to date as we’d like it to be, but it still contains some excellent information about how one manages and controls COPD.