We are sad to report that U.S. COPD Coalition Board Member, Vlady Rozenbaum passed away in his sleep on October 17, 2015.
Vlady was a giant advocate for those with COPD. The founder of COPD Alert, an online resource encompassing everything about COPD, Vlady made it his mission to educate, support and empower patients and professionals alike. For the past several years, Vlady was a regular participant in seminars, advocacy efforts, education days and professional conferences across the globe. Along with COPD Alert, Vlady served in many capacities with the COPD Foundation, last serving on our Coaches Corner and COPD PPRN.
Vlady was born in the Soviet Union during World War 2, later moving to Poland. While in Poland, he attended Warsaw University studying English and linguistics, writing translations for the US Department of Commerce. In 1969, he and his wife Rita immigrated to the United States as political refugees.
Suffering from various respiratory related problems his entire life, after being diagnosed with COPD in the year 1980, Vlady set about educating himself in respiratory medicine and COPD. Vlady became a patient authority in disease management, the importance of pulmonary rehabilitation, and the various medications and technologies used in the treatment of COPD. His founding of COPD Alert provided the depth of his knowledge and passionate support to the COPD community he so loved.
Vlady believed that everything in life had an answer, and for many years those answers were provided to the patient community by Vlady. In Vlady our community found a hero and a voice. While the voice may now be silenced in death, the words he spoke, the efforts he made and the passion he gave so freely will continue to influence generations to come. In the future just as in past days, his name will be remembered and his presence missed not only by those with COPD but the professionals who looked up to Vlady. (tribute provided by COPD Foundation)
USCC Board Member Valerie Chang remembers Vlady:
Vlady is one of the reasons I got involved in COPD advocacy. He invited me to attend a NIH PIO meeting with him in Washington, DC in 2007. At the meeting, he and everyone said I should meet with Dr. James Kiley, head of the Lung Division of NHLBI. I managed to introduce myself and meet with him over the buffet lunch at the event. Dr. Kiley said he’d be in HI for his vacation in November 2007. I got Dr. Kiley to promise to give me one day of his vacation, to make a presentation on Oahu and actually got him to extend it to 3 presentations. John Walsh and the COPD Foundation agreed to be the fiscal sponsor for the event on Oahu, our 1st annual COPD Education Day in November 2007 (allowing us to collect exhibit fees as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit). We created the Hawaii COPD Coalition in order to properly host the event and worked closely with our respiratory therapy program at Kapiolani Community College. We had over 300 attendees from all over the island, over 30 exhibitors for the ed day (also grand rounds just before the event), and presented island-wide data about COPD prevalence at a meeting with stakeholders with Dr. Kiley as our keynote speaker. 2016 will be our 10th anniversary of the Hawaii COPD Coalition!
The U.S. COPD Coalition has lost a great leader and the Board is grateful to Vlady for his passionate commitment to fulfilling our mission and representing the patient community’s needs for more than a decade.