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Expert Interview COPD Fighting COPD Together—The COPD National Action Plan An expert interview with Antonello Punturieri Division of Lung Diseases, National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, US Antonello Punturieri 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 COPD therapies. 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. E: punturieria@nhlbi.nih.gov 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. 15