The ribbon for two new Grace Ann Dorney Pulmonary Rehabilitation Centers was cut Thursday, June 9, 2016, and amidst the many dignitaries in attendance was the woman who inspired and helped make provision for the Lincoln and Logan county programs in our network that are working to combat the high incidence of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (CODP) in West Virginia.

Grace Ann Dorney is a practicing attorney, President of the COPD Foundation and the Dorney-Koppel Foundation and business manager for her husband, the legendary broadcast journalist, Ted Koppel, who is perhaps best known for his 25-year anchor role on ABC’s Nightline. Ms. Dorney Koppel is also a national patient advocate for The National Institutes of Health (NIH).  She is dedicated to raising awareness, finding better treatments and a cure for COPD as it is an issue she finds very personal. She, herself, has COPD.

The Lincoln Primary Care and Southern West Virginia Health System pulmonary rehabilitation centers, made possible by financial support from the Dorney Koppel Family Charitable Foundation and the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation, are based in Hamlin and Man, W.Va., and together have already impacted many lives with a 12-week program that helps COPD patients return to more active and healthier lives.  West Virginians who have Black Lung Disease will also be able to receive services.

The programs are led by Brandi Bell, RRT, in Hamlin and Johnny Mullin, CRT, in Man. The providers work with patients by offering exercise and relaxation techniques alongside an education program that encompasses proper diet, proper use of medications, understanding medical results and more. Smoking cessation techniques are also an important part of the program. The goal is to positively impact patients’ activities of daily living, minimize episodes of breathlessness and reduce the need for hospital care.

COPD is a debilitating disease that ranks as the third leading cause of death among Americans. It affects 30 million Americans, only 15 million of whom have been diagnosed.  Unfortunately, West Virginia has a particularly high incidence of the disease.

“West Virginia has about 8 percent of the total U.S. population diagnosed with COPD, and that doesn’t count lung disease, asthma and bronchitis,” Dorney Kopeell, said. “We have an epidemic of lung disease in America, and in rural areas, we don’t have facilities to treat people who desperately need treatment.”

The Lincoln Primary Care Center and Southern West Virginia Health System programs are part of a continuing dream that the Dorney Koppell Family Charitable Foundation has to bring pulmonary rehabilitation centers to as many places around the country as they can.

On behalf of Logan and Lincoln county residents, Lincoln Primary Care Center and Southern West Virginia Health System are eternally grateful to both the Dorney Koppell Family Charitable Foundation and the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation for their investment that is already paying dividends in lives of Lincoln and Logan county residents.

Learn more about our pulmonary rehabilitation programs here.