How Lung Health Institute is Addressing an Age-Old Stigma Stalling Progress in the Treatment of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

by | Oct 23, 2018 | Blog, Featured, In the News, Newsroom, Research

TAMPA, Fla., Oct. 23, 2018– Lung Health Institute is committed to breaking the stigma surrounding lower chronic respiratory diseases, the third leading cause of death in the United States.
As many as one in four Americans with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) has never smoked cigarettes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, yet many assume those diagnosed are somehow responsible for their condition because of the stigmatized habit. This and other assumptions continue to plague the ability to raise widespread awareness and fundraising efforts for a disease that affects millions of people across the U.S. and beyond.
Current levels of National Institutes of Health (NIH) disease-specific research funding show COPD is among the most underfunded conditions, even with the disease’s burden on society. In addition to stalling the advancement of treatment options and research efforts that could provide relief for the 30 million Americans who suffer from COPD, the misconceptions about the condition impact women’s health. Along with the association to smoking comes the long-standing misperception that COPD is a man’s disease. However, for the last 50 years, women’s death rates from COPD have climbed at a much faster rate than that of men, and today, more women die from the disease. Misdiagnosis, or no diagnosis, contributes to this and occurs at an alarming rate.
Early detection, the key to the treatment of COPD, remains a challenge for healthcare providers because patients are rarely tested until the condition has advanced.
Whether it is due to underreporting symptoms or lack of general awareness, COPD remains overlooked as a significant medical challenge. This leaves patients with few options if conventional treatment is not effective. This realization prompted Lung Health Institute to take a closer look at the effectiveness of more recent methodologies in slowing or arresting the progression of COPD, as published in the Journal.  The path forward is clear: more resources are needed and additional research should be conducted to address the plight of these forgotten patients.
COPD is responsible for claiming thousands of American lives each year. Still, many believe it cannot affect them because they do not smoke. Lung Health Institute facilitates collaboration across researchers, providers and policymakers to advocate on behalf of these patients and better understand how to optimally manage symptoms of COPD and advance treatment, helping close the gap between what is available today and what is possible for COPD patients in the future.
To learn more about how Lung Health Institute is working to advance the treatment of COPD, visit

About Lung Health Institute’s Experts

Jack Coleman Jr., M.D., is senior medical director of Lung Health Institute and was recently published in the Journal of Stem Cell Research. He earned his medical degree from the University of Cincinnati where he also completed his internship and first year of general surgery residency. His special interest in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of respiratory disease stems from his commitment to improving the quality of life for the patients he serves. Dr. Coleman is a diplomate of the National Board of Medical Examiners, board certified in Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, and a Fellow of the American Academy of Otolaryngology and Head and Neck Surgery. Additionally, he is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery and member of the Association of Military Surgeons of the United States.
Melissa Rubio, Ph.D., APRN, FNP is a nurse practitioner at Lung Health Institute. She holds a doctorate in philosophy (Ph.D.) from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee College of Nursing and is an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN). She also has a certificate in genetics & genomics from Stanford University. Having joined Lung Health Institute in 2015, Dr. Rubio now is based at Lung Health Institute in Dallas, where she serves as the principal investigator for research. She is a member of the North Texas Nurse Practitioners and the Southern Nursing Research Society.

About Lung Health Institute

Lung Health Institute leads the industry in regenerative medicine and is among the first cellular therapy providers accredited by The Joint Commission, widely considered the gold standard of quality patient care. Our exclusive focus on and multidisciplinary approach to lung disease yields expert care for every patient, even when conventional treatment isn’t effective or stops working. Offering a variety of programs and services including the Anti-Inflammatory Initiative and cellular therapy in several locations across the United States, Lung Health Institute has helped thousands of people with chronic lung disease improve their quality of life and Breathe Easier™.

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