Stuart Rich, M.D., was a cardiology fellow at the University of Chicago in 1978 when he began treating pulmonary hypertension (PH).

“My first patient was a young woman who was admitted to the hospital for right ventricular failure,” Dr. Rich recalls. “My chief suggested it would make a good career focus.”

Recently retired from Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Dr. Rich has seen many changes with PH treatment and awareness. He’s also had many memorable experiences.

“One of my patients was a teenage girl whom I treated with Flolan,” Dr. Rich remembers. “It was her prom, and her mother managed to tape her CADD pump to her thigh under her dress so that she could wear the dress she wanted without revealing the pump. It was such a great story that she ended up on the cover of People magazine.”

Dr. Rich learned of the Pulmonary Hypertension Association (PHA) in 1996 at its second International PH Conference and Scientific Sessions in Atlanta. As PHA grew as an organization, Dr. Rich became involved in many capacities.

For the past 15 years, he has helped secure support for the Pulmonary Hypertension Association Registry (PHAR), Pulmonary Hypertension Care Centers (PHCC) and a potential new clinical trial network.

Dr. Rich has been an annual donor to PHA for more than 20 years.

“Patient support is an essential part of the care of [PH] patients,” he says. “PHA has filled a very important niche for patients to know about their disease and to not feel alone in the world.”

This story originally appeared in Pathlight magazine, PHA’s member magazine. If you’re not a PHA member, join today to enjoy Pathlight, reduced PHA 2022 Conference rates and more.

The December 2020 Pathlight featured the stories of many long-time members of the PH community, including people with PH, caregivers and health care professionals. Join Dr. Rich in fighting PH, and give hope to the PH community for the next 30 years. Donate to support PHA’s mission to extend and improve the lives of those affected by PH.

Stuart Rich, M.D.