Journey to COPD Awareness

COPD ShuttleNearly 50,000 people have journeyed to the center of the lung since the COPD Shuttle took its inaugural voyage at the 2010 American Thoracic Society conference. But whether it is in Las Vegas, New York, or anywhere in between, its mission remains the same: using interactive simulation to educate people about the risks factors for and dangers of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Listen to this podcast with COPD Foundation Co-Founder and President John W. Walsh and Janina Kowalski, assistant director of development, to hear how this unique tool is making a difference in COPD education and spirometry testing nationwide.

Read a transcript of this podcast by clicking here.

Want to see the COPD Shuttle in action? See what riders see inside the shuttle by watching the video below.

Nearly 50,000 people have journeyed to the center of the lung since the COPD Shuttle took its inaugural voyage at the 2010 American Thoracic Society conference. But whether it is in Las Vegas, New York, or anywhere in between, its mission has remained the same: using interactive simulation to educate people about the risks factors for and dangers of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Read a transcript of our recent podcast with COPD Foundation Co-Founder and President John W. Walsh and Janina Kowalski, assistant director of development, to hear how this unique tool is making a difference in education and spirometry testing nationwide.

Janina Kowalski (JK): The COPD shuttle really is a great tool for engaging different sectors of the population that wouldn’t at first approach a booth or an event or an area that was just educational material lying out there. This kind of presence at any kind of event definitely is going to get more people to come over and start asking questions about COPD.

At a typical large show, we will screen about 500 people and when the shuttle is present we typically double that number. You know, on several occasions we’ve gotten pretty close to running out of materials. We actually were at the Washington DC science expo last year and we had a line that was over an hour long…They gravitate to it.

Typical reactions that we get, you know, I hear the “Wow’s” and “Can I get a ride again?” One of my favorites was definitely outside the NIH main headquarters we had a group of people go through and one of them came out and looked at me and was like, “wow, there goes my cigarettes.” It was definitely a rewarding reaction to the shuttle because you knew the shuttle was there and did what its job was which is to raise awareness of the dangers of COPD.

John W. Walsh (JW): Another one that I heard is people get off and I’d hear a child say to a parent: You have to get tested, you cough all of the time and you smoke.

JK: The COPD shuttle really targets a population, a lower health literacy population that tends to suffer from lower health rates. The shuttle really reaches out to them and engages with this interactive learning tool a population that struggles with their own health.

JW: Clinicians should be aware that they can actually help us get the shuttle scheduled in some place in proximity to their clinics . We obviously need resources to be able to support the shuttle at different locations. Often times a group, including a group of respiratory therapists in a couple instances has identified funding to help get the shuttle to their location and community. We always like to try to do an outreach to the local community as well whether it is the school system or health fair or even state fairs during the summer months. We are ready, willing and able to provide the shuttle there to create more awareness about COPD

JK: One of the best ways people can get information regarding the COPD shuttle is definitely to call our information line and ask one of the associates about scheduling the shuttle and finding out more information about that and more education programs that we have.

JW: We have a lot of resources available to clinicians and patients and families as well, you can call into the information line, the COPD information line, 866-316-COPD , that’s 866-316-2673, or log onto our website at COPDfoundation.org.

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