Two men examine spirometers at a American College of Chest Physicians Phoenix Lung Health Day activity.
Expanding Public Outreach Activities
While the organization has historically offered programs on lung health and smoking prevention to elementary through high school students, it has been expanding its outreach efforts in recent years, says Markowski. Spirometry testing is an easy tool ACCP physician members can use to engage with and inform the public on lung health matters.
While ACCP does do outreach programs at its annual conference and at its other large educational activities, those generally are held in destinations that can handle an influx of thousands of physicians coming for the main show. Smaller cities and towns generally aren’t options. “Our goal is to go to areas and capture the attention of people who might not otherwise have access to information about lung health,” says Markowski. That’s why this year it expanded the ACCP board of regents meeting from twice a year to six annually, both to be able to meet with members whom they might not otherwise see face to face, and to provide community outreach in new areas.
In addition to a “fun run” at its annual meeting, it offers tool kits and information pieces on its Web site that its “ambassadors”—spouses, family members, and other individuals who have an interest in lung health—can download, and it holds “countless” educational public-facing events, especially for schoolchildren. This year it also joined OneBreath®, the COPD Alliance, and thousands of other respiratory organizations worldwide to promote World Spirometry Day. Held June 27, the ACCP and local partners provided lung screening and information in Chicago. Other organizations held similar screening and consultations around the world. Screening continued after the official date as well. “The idea was to spread the information and have people take the test, then feed the information into one Web site,” says Markowsi.
As to the events it is holding in conjunction with its board of regents meetings, he says, “As we compile these examples, it will only help us better understand the markets we want to go to, and do a better job of targeting where the underserved needs and educational barriers are. The more we’ve done this, and the more success we’ve had, and the more varied we make our outreach, the more it has energized our board members, committee members, and physicians.”