How curiosity is driving lasting change in COPD care

Donna Goodridge

Dr. Donna Goodridge is many things. She is a wife to her husband Jim, a daughter to her mom Rose, a friend to many, a registered nurse with a Ph.D. and a professor in the Division of Respirology, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine at The University of
Saskatchewan. She is also the Director of the Respiratory Research Center. Dr. Goodridge is described as thoughtful, genuine, and supportive of others. But it is her curious nature that drives her passion for lung health research. “I am always asking the question ‘why’. I want to know ‘why’ something works, or ‘why’ it doesn’t. Then I want to know how it could be different,” says Dr. Goodridge.

A Quest for Answers

Dr. Goodridge’s quest to answer that question has led her to embark on several studies with the ultimate goal of providing a better quality of life for older adults and people with chronic lung disease such as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). One of the research projects she is working on looks at finding ways to create a health care system that is more holistic for people living with advanced lung disease, where the patient is an equal partner on the health care team. “We serve a diverse group of people and they all contribute value.”

After spending 13 years working in palliative care, Dr. Goodridge is also analyzing the current and future roles of Certified Respiratory Educators in advance care or end of life planning. She explains that breathlessness is a very common concern for patients in palliative care. She says, “I want to know how we can better manage shortness of breath and better comfort people in their end stage of life.”

Breathing – A Common Thread

When asked why she became so passionate about lung health, she said it started when she first worked in ICU, “It didn’t matter what the disease was- COPD, ALS, or burn victims, breathing issues were a common thread among them all.” Dr. Goodridge wants people to know that COPD can be managed effectively and people can live well with COPD. She is particularly interested in women living with the disease as there are now indications that COPD affects men and women differently. “It is thought that women have worse signs and symptoms earlier, likely due to the size of their airways, hormones, and environmental differences.”

Bring about Lasting Change

She feels it is important to raise the profile on the issue of women and COPD. “We need to make the public more aware and make a difference. More importantly, it is essential for us to find out how we can bring about lasting change and beliefs while removing any stigma that goes along with COPD. Discovery is a process and I am so excited to find out the answers!”


Page Last Updated: 13/05/2020