The goal of our annual fund raising campaign is to secure support
for the Pulmonary Education and Research Foundation's, (PERF's),
activities in the coming year. This is the only letter that you
will receive. We earnestly hope that you will take our request
seriously and give generously.
PERF is a small, highly energetic international foundation, whose
goal is to promote education and research to benefit patients
with chronic pulmonary disorders. The focus is primarily on pulmonary
rehabilitation for those suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary
disease, (COPD), this nation's fourth most common cause of death,
and the only cause of death that is rising among the top ten.
The accomplishments of PERF have been enormous. We have created
booklets, now complied into a single comprehensive monograph on
a do-it-yourself pulmonary education program. This has been translated
into Spanish, and it has been widely distributed. We have produced
video cassettes with accompanying booklets that promote pulmonary
PERF has conducted important research on the value of exercise
and breathing training, improving oxygenation, physical exercise
capacity, and the quality of life in patients with COPD. This
year we were a major supporter of the 5th Oxygen Consensus Conference
held in September in Washington, D.C. These conferences have disseminated
knowledge regarding cutting edge issues in long-term oxygen therapy.
They have contributed to the science about how oxygen works, particularly
in conjunction with exercise in COPD. All evidence points to the
fact that a combination of oxygen and exercise is restorative
to critical tissues of the body. This year's conference focused
on ambulatory oxygen and the impact of government cutbacks on
the well-being of pulmonary patients.
This year, we joined forces with the National Lung Health Education
Program, which aims to involve primary care physicians on the
front line in early identification and intervention in COPD. If
we can introduce simple lung testing (spirometry) into primary
physicians' offices, we will achieve a major victory against this
enormous health problem.
But the biggest accomplishment of PERF comes from closer to home.
This is the year that the Rehabilitation Clinical Trials Center
swung into operation. This 4,000 square foot building on the campus
of the Harbor-UCLA Research and Education Institute in Torrance
is dedicated to discovering new strategies to improve the lives
of those suffering from chronic lung disease. With the help of
PERF, furnishings and equipment for this building have been assembled
and an outstanding staff has been recruited. The Medical Director
of this facility, Dr. Richard Casaburi (who is also the President
of PERF), has initiated an extensive program of research. Research
projects now underway are evaluating a new method to conserve
supplemental oxygen during ambulation, anabolic hormones to improve
muscle function, a new long-lasting bronchodilator, and an appetite
stimulant for underweight COPD patients. There was a gala inaugural
open house held last Spring, with an excellent turnout of PERF
As the new Millennium dawns, PERF is working on its most ambitious
project. Alvin Grancell, a founding member of PERF and currently
Vice-President, has announced his intention to commit more than
a million dollars to establish the Alvin Grancell and Mary Burns
Chair in the Rehabilitative Sciences. It is planned that this
Chair will be administered through the Harbor-UCLA Research and
Education Institute and that the initial occupant of this Chair
will be Richard Casaburi, Ph.D., M.D. The objective will be to
free Rich to pursue rehabilitation research full time. However,
since this initial donation will only partially fund this Chair
in perpetuity, other major donations are needed. For further information
about this exciting project, please contact Mary Burns by telephone
Speaking of Mary Burns, she is as busy as ever, despite having
"retired" from full-time clinical work a few years ago.
The heart and soul of PERF, she can be reached most readily by
e-mail. She lectures widely in support of pulmonary rehabilitation
and continues monthly publication of our Second Wind newsletter.
This newsletter excels in presenting new developments in rehabilitation
in a user-friendly format. Please visit PERF website at www.perf2ndwind.org.
You will be excited to see the useful information for patients
and rehabilitation specialists.
Unlike other respiratory and thoracic associations that raise
money throughout the year from the public, our overhead is minuscule.
In fact, the only overhead costs are the basics: telephone, printing,
postage, fax, etc. All Directors of PERF donate their time throughout
the year. No one is paid. We operate totally from donations of
time and money.
Please write your check today. Make it as generous as possible.
Your check will support the continuation of our publication, "Second
Wind", and all of PERF's efforts for the coming year. We
are counting on your support as we enter the next century.
Have a joyous holiday season.
Thomas L. Petty, M.D.
Member of PERF Board of Directors