National Jewish Health Receives Grant to Launch Spirometry Training Program

Grant targets underserved areas across country

National Jewish Health was awarded an unrestricted educational grant from GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) to produce a series of Continuing Medical Education (CME) activities to train healthcare providers in underserved areas across the country on how to conduct spirometry testing.  Spirometry is a pulmonary function test measuring the volume and flow of air that can be exhaled, and is an important tool for assessing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).  The spirometry training program, "Making the Right Diagnosis: The Need for Spirometry," is designed to inform Primary Care Physicians and Allied Health professionals how to recognize, diagnose, and deal with the heterogeneity of COPD, from its clinical course, diagnosis and outcomes.  To accomplish this, National Jewish Health will utilize a Saturday symposia series and an interactive web portal to deliver the content for this initiative.  National Jewish Health is partnering with the COPD Foundation and the National Medical Association to develop and market the symposia series.

"COPD is an emerging epidemic with a significant societal burden," said David Tinkelman, MD, Vice President of Health Initiatives at National Jewish. "Currently, the healthcare system is very ill-equipped to deal with the emerging COPD epidemic.  Urban areas that treat underserved populations will be selected to attend the Saturday symposia based on their incidence of COPD. "

"Over 12 million Americans have been diagnosed with COPD, but despite its impact COPD continues to be under-diagnosed and misdiagnosed," said Byron Thomashow, MD, Chair of the COPD Foundation Board of Directors.  "Checking lung health is just as important and easy as checking blood pressure, and this spirometry training program empowers individuals with COPD and educates healthcare providers to make a difference."

Events are currently scheduled in Atlanta, Berkeley (2/21), Washington D.C. (2/28), and Chicago (3/7).  The symposia will be a blend of didactic learning, hands-on utilization of spirometry equipment, coaching with that equipment and proper interpretation of spirograms.  Lectures and coaching will be done by National Jewish Health experts.  For 11 consecutive years, U.S. News & World Report has ranked National Jewish Health the No. 1 respiratory hospital in the nation.  Attendees can earn 4.0 CME credits or 3.9 CE nursing contact hours. National Jewish Health is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians and is an approved provider of continuing nursing education by the California Board of Registered Nursing.  Once participants are comfortable using spirometers and interpreting spirograms in their practice, they will be given the opportunity to refine and continue to advance their skills in an online training program.

"This program has the potential to equip primary care physicians to provide state of the art diagnosis and management of their patients with COPD," said LeRoy M. Graham, MD, FCCP, Associate Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at Morehouse School of Medicine.

Currently the 4th cause of death in the U.S., COPD is the only chronic disease steadily increasing since 1970, and death rates from COPD in the 1960's have tripled.  The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute estimates that of 24 million Americans who have COPD, only half of them are diagnosed.

 "Spirometry is extremely important for the diagnosis of COPD, and should be considered in any patient with dyspnea, chronic cough, and putum production, or a history of exposure to risk factors for the disease," said Dr. Tinkelman.  "It is absolutely essential that COPD be confirmed by spirometry, which will help to distinguish between COPD and asthma."

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