NEW Vermont COPD Program
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) awarded The Vermont Department of Health a grant to implement the NEW Vermont COPD Program as part of CDC’s Building Capacity for Chronic Disease Education and Awareness effort. Together with partners across the state, the Vermont COPD Program will work to:
- increase public health knowledge of COPD among healthcare providers and the public;
- promote earlier detection and diagnosis of COPD;
- increase COPD patient and caregiver support, and
- reduce COPD-related hospital readmissions.
Strategies will include:
- establishing a new COPD Advisory Panel to elevate COPD as a topic of focus among leadership and partners;
- delivering COPD trainings for health care providers on guideline-based, person-centered care;
- collecting and disseminating Vermont COPD data; and
- creating media campaigns to increase awareness of COPD prevention and control best practices.
What is COPD?
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a progressive, persistent airway limitation due to the chronic response of the lungs to irritating particles such as tobacco smoke. COPD is a group of diseases which make breathing difficult (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) | CDC). Permanent damage due to lung remodeling results in irreversible airflow obstruction and decreased lung function, and may be associated with emphysema, chronic bronchitis, certain genetic conditions, and brain and/or spinal column injuries.
Prevalence of COPD
COPD is a leading cause of death in the nation, with rates doubling since 1969 while many other chronic conditions have declined. COPD has been the fourth leading cause of death in Vermont since 2016 with a rate of 55.4 deaths per 100,000 residents (Vermont 2020 Vital Statistics Report). Approximately 7% of Vermonters are currently living with COPD compared to 6% in the U.S. (BRFSS 2021), with a greater burden of COPD among those with less education and lower household incomes. Vermont adults living with a disability are six times more likely to have COPD than those without a disability; in addition, those who are food insecure, American Indian and Alaska Native (AIAN) and those who smoke cigarettes are impacted by even higher rates.
Causes of COPD
Most COPD cases are preventable since 8 in 10 associated deaths are caused by smoking. Given Vermont also carries disproportionately high smoking rates compared nationally, the importance of taking public health action cannot be overstated. Furthermore, families and individuals are encouraged to support quit attempts with the help of Vermont’s own 802Quits.