Member organizations of the U.S. COPD Coalition were asked to vote for the Board of Directors for a term starting August 1, 2018. Ken Benson, Chair of the USCC Nominations Committee, has announced the results of the balloting which ended on June 6, 2018. The following slate of candidates were unanimously approved:
Valerie Chang, JD – Valerie is a retired judge and patient advocate. She is the Executive Director and Founder of the Hawaii COPD Coalition, founded in 2007. She was diagnosed with idiopathic COPD in 2000. Some of the notable accomplishments of the Hawaii COPD Coalition are strong partnerships throughout the state, including the Hawaii Department of Health Tobacco Prevention and Education Program and others. Annual education days have been held since 2007 as well as monthly support groups, currently at two of the major medical centers. The Coalition has also been active in advocacy, providing the “face” for COPD, helping getting clean air legislation in Hawaii passed, as well as licensure for Hawaii Respiratory Therapists and requiring durable medical equipment providers to be licensed in Hawaii if they are doing business in Hawaii. Valerie has spoken on local and national venues about COPD and lung health advocacy. She has been on the Board of the US COPD Coalition since 2012 and a consumer advocate of the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs since 2014. She was a special education hearing officer and an attorney in private practice, as well as a graduate of University of California at Davis Law School. She has a bachelor of arts with honors in Sociology from University of Oregon. She is licensed to practice law in both California and Hawaii. Valerie currently serves as Vice-Chair of the U.S. COPD Coalition and Chair of the USCC’s Portable Oxygen Task Force.
Barbara Yawn, MD– Dr. Yawn is a family physician and researcher with extensive experience with obstructive lung disease research and practice. She has been a member of the USCC board of directors for several years, including 4 serving as Vice-Chair for four years in the past. She represents primary care, an important group to bring into a more active role in COPD screening, evaluation and management. She also sits on the COPD Foundation Medical and Scientific Advisory Committee.
Al Rizzo, MD – Dr. Rizzo is Chief of the Section of Pulmonary Medicine at the Christiana Care Health System in Newark, Delaware and a member of Christiana Care Pulmonary Associates. He is board certified in internal medicine, pulmonary, critical care and sleep medicine and is a Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine at Thomas Jefferson University Medical School in Philadelphia. Dr. Rizzo is a member of the American Thoracic Society, a Fellow of the American College of Chest Physicians and the American College of Physicians and a Diplomat of the American Board of Sleep Medicine. Dr. Rizzo deals with patients with COPD on a regular basis and is a strong advocate for pulmonary rehabilitation. He has served as the Principal Investigator for over 30 clinical trials in the fields of asthma, COPD, pulmonary fibrosis, pneumonia and sleep apnea. He is also directly involved with maintaining the American Lung Association’s Better Breathers Club.
Michael Hess, BS, RRT – Mike is a respiratory therapist and is currently the Chronic Lung Disease Coordinator at Western Michigan University’s Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine. After receiving his initial clinical training through Kalamazoo Valley Community College, he completed a bachelor’s degree through Western Michigan University’s College of Health and Human Services, and is in the process of acquiring a Master of Public Health degree through that institution. He has focused on treating chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) for the last several years, and received a Young Investigator Award from the COPD Foundation in 2015 for research in this area.
Ken Benson will be completing his term on the USCC Board on July 31st. Sam Girodano, MBA, RRT, FAARC, Chair of the US COPD Coalition, expressed appreciation for Ken’s years of service on the Board, where in addition to Chairing the Nominations committee, he Chaired the Bylaws committee and served on the Board’s Executive Committee s Secretary.