When Dr. Dina Brooks finished physiotherapy school, she knew working in the field of respiratory care was her passion. It was an area that resonated with her because she felt it was here where she could impact patients’ lives the most. With this in mind, her graduate work focused on respiratory health.

The Lung Association has been supporting Dr. Brooks’ research for the past 20 years and with her new project, Let’s Boogie, underway, she couldn’t be more grateful. “To work with a funder who has an open mind and is willing to try something different is so important for a researcher. This is the only way we are able to try new techniques and determine which ones have a positive outcome for patients.”

Let’s Boogie is a dance therapy class designed for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Dr. Brooks had seen this type of therapy used in patients with Parkinson’s and she has studied it herself in patients with stroke. During those studies, she saw improvements in balance and life satisfaction. Given those findings, it seemed obvious to bring this type of therapy to the respiratory arena. This is the first time dance therapy is being used for patients with COPD.

Patients who are part of this study are finding the program to be very helpful not only during the one-hour class, but throughout the rest of their day. It gives them a sense of independence and joy when they are able to experience the freedom dance and movement give them. They all are able to work at their own pace with modified versions of all moves that the dance therapists offer. “With dance, these patients are able to live happier lives – and that is the most important thing,” says Dr. Brooks.

Dr. Brooks is thankful that donors of The Lung Association see the value in supporting lung health research that can have a lasting impact on patients. Lung health research is severely underfunded. Without donors, this type of work would not be possible.

“I just think when I go for a short run how I have to catch my breath. Imagine feeling like that all day – and sometimes all night – always struggling to catch your breath. We have to do everything and anything we can to relieve these symptoms of people who have difficulty breathing.”

Dr. Brooks is a researcher funded through our Breathing as One campaign that supports The Lung Association’s innovative research strategy. Based on the principles of collaboration, we will push beyond the traditional boundaries of lung research, leverage new knowledge and create the highest standards of treatments to attract the brightest medical minds.