Improving life and breath for people in remote communities

Throughout a career spent in pulmonary rehabilitation and research related to chronic lung disease, Dr. Pat Camp still feels inspired when she hears a patient express a simple, thankful sentiment: “That really made a difference.”

“When you provide care for someone and it’s a good fit, and it’s helped them get out of a place that was kind of dark, those have always been moments that are meaningful for me,” said the physical therapist, clinician-scientist and founder of the Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program at St. Paul’s Hospital.

With a career focused on improving the quality of life for individuals COPD, Dr. Camp’s association with LAH will contribute to the acceleration of the initiative’s creation and translation of knowledge into world-class prevention of, and care for, people living with asthma and COPD.

“I live pretty close to the knowledge translation world myself,” said Dr. Camp, speaking to her career compatibility with LAH’s mission and goals.

“A lot of my work is taken up with trying to improve practice, and improve how we deliver health care.”

Through her desire to improve care, Dr. Camp began working in collaboration with the University of British Columbia’s Faculty of Medicine in 2016 to expand lung health awareness across the Carrier Sekani Tribal Council, a group of 11 First Nations communities scattered across North Central BC.

Working with Indigenous leadership to ensure research findings are translated into treatments that benefit patients, Dr. Camp connects with health care providers from wide-ranging practice areas. It’s an approach that will increase the real-life impact of research and improve the lives of people living with COPD in remote communities.

In four short years, much has been revealed about the state of lung health across Carrier Sekani’s member First Nations. Not only are the community’s health services more knowledgeable about the existence of lung conditions, but a chronic disease nurse has also been hired to take the team’s research results to improve COPD care. Additionally, air quality monitors have been installed across the communities to provide timely air quality readings, especially important to people with COPD during wildfire season.

“It’s a long journey and we’re really at the beginning,” said Dr. Camp. “But lung health is now on the radar across all 11 communities, and that’s a great place to start.”