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Expert Interview COPD
Fighting COPD Together—The COPD National
An expert interview with Antonello Punturieri
Division of Lung Diseases, National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, US
Antonello (Tony) Punturieri, MD, PhD, is a Program Officer in the Division of Lung Diseases (DLD), National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute
(NHLBI), National Institutes of Health (NIH). In this capacity Tony administers a varied portfolio of grants, and contracts in the area of
chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and environment. Specifically, Tony participates in the development and administration
of programs that aim at furthering the understanding of COPD disease mechanisms, COPD prevention, and the testing and evaluation of
Tony attended medical school in Ferrara (Italy) and obtained a PhD in Immunology at “La Sapienza” University in Rome, Italy. He spent four
years at the NIH as a Visiting Fellow at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) and Visiting Associate
at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). He returned to Rome as Assistant Professor of Pathophysiology at “La
Sapienza” University in Rome (Italy) while also working as Staff Scientist at “Regina Elena” Cancer Institute. He then moved to the Division
of Hematology/Oncology at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor and subsequently joined the Pulmonary Division at Michigan and the
Veterans Administration Hospital (Pulmonary Section) in Ann Arbor. He joined NHLBI in 2006.
Keywords Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease,
COPD, national action plan
Disclosure: Antonello Punturieri is an employee of
the National Institutes of Health and has no other
disclosures in relation to this article. This is an
expert interview and, as such, has not undergone
the journal's standard peer review process.
Authorship: All named authors meet the International
Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) criteria
for authorship of this manuscript, take responsibility
for the integrity of the work as a whole, and have
given final approval to the version to be published.
Open Access: This article is published under the
Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial License,
which permits any noncommercial use, distribution,
adaptation, and reproduction provided the original
author(s) and source are given appropriate credit.
Received: November 22, 2017
Published Online: December 12, 2017
Citation: US Respiratory & Pulmonary Diseases,
2017;2(1):15–6 Corresponding Author: Antonello Punturieri, Division of
Lung Diseases, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute,
6701 Rockledge Drive, Bethesda, MD 20892-7952, US.
Support: No funding was received in
the publication of this article.
TOU CH MED ICA L MEDIA
I n an expert interview, Antonello Punturieri, Program Officer at the DLD, NHLBI, NIH, discusses
the COPD National Action Plan. This was the topic of his presentation which took place
during a multiperspective panel discussion session at the recent 11th General Meeting of
the Global Alliance Against Chronic Respiratory Diseases (GARD, supported by the World Health
Organization) held in Brussels, Belgium (www.who.int/gard/en/). From healthcare providers and
federal partners to advocacy groups and patients, everybody in the COPD community can and must
play a role in supporting and moving this important initiative forward.
Q: Why was there a need for a COPD National Action Plan?
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease ( COPD) is the third leading cause of death in the US and is the
fourth leading cause of disability. Some 15% of people with a disability have COPD. In 2010, more than
$32 billion was spent on COPD-related patient care; and those costs are projected to increase to
$49 billion by 2020. While death from chronic conditions like heart disease, cancer, stroke, and
diabetes continue to decline, COPD is the only one of the six leading causes of death that has not seen
a similar decline. The nation is finally recognizing COPD as a serious disease that requires intervention
from all involved. 1 – 5
In the 2012 Senate Appropriations Committee report, Congress highlighted the importance of
COPD and encouraged the NIH “to work with community stakeholders and other federal agencies,
including the CDC [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention], to develop a national action plan to
respond to the growing burden of this disease.” A letter to the NIH and CDC from Reps. John Lewis
(D-GA), David Joyce (R-OH) and Carol Shea-Porter (D-NH) on November 2014 requested “that the two
agencies create a National Action Plan for COPD in fiscal year 2015.” In response to these requests
and in collaboration with the CDC and other federal partners, the NHLBI—the NIH component with
primary responsibility for chronic lung disease—organized a series of events and activities.