As the holiday weekend approaches, the COVID-19 pandemic prevents us from enjoying activities normally associated with Independence Day. Instead of celebrating with picnics, parades and firework displays, we continue to physically distance ourselves from many friends and family.
While this necessary precaution protects members of the pulmonary hypertension (PH) community from contracting the coronavirus, it also highlights our interdependence. It heightens our need for connection, collaboration and communication.
The Pulmonary Hypertension Association Board of Trustees understands that critical need and has worked tirelessly with our staff, volunteers and corporate partners to address your questions and concerns and provide much-needed support during the pandemic.
As the board transitions to new leadership this week, I’d like to thank outgoing members for their years of service: Diane Ramirez, Erika Berman Rosenzweig, Fran Rogers and Roger Towle. When they began their terms, they couldn’t have imagined serving the past few months in a pandemic, and to keep our community safe, making the difficult decision to cancel PHA 2020 International PH Conference and Scientific Sessions. We appreciate everything they have done to get us through this time of uncertainty and change. Thanks especially to Karen Fagan, M.D., for her leadership as chair, who remains on board as immediate past chair.
Our new board starts its term as the U.S. infection rate reaches new levels, and PHA members seek guidance on how to maintain their health at home and get support in a virtual world. I look forward to working with our newest board members, Anna Hemnes, M.D.; Kimberly Jackson, R.N., B.S.N; and William Jansen. I also look forward to working with our new officers: Colleen Brunetti, M.Ed., C.H.C., the second patient in PHA’s history to serve as chair; Chair-Elect and Treasurer Tony Lahnston; and Secretary Nicole Creech. Under their leadership, and that of the entire board, we can continue to help the community navigate these unprecedented times, as well as fulfill PHA’s mission to extend and improve the lives of those with PH.
Importantly, I’d like to thank our Corporate Committee members, our partners in serving the PH community. The enthusiastic and generous support of Actelion Pharmaceuticals U.S. Inc., Bayer, Accredo, United Therapeutics, Acceleron Pharma, Gossamer Bio and Liquidia Technologies makes many of our programs possible, including our virtual wellness series, “PHA Connects: COVID-19 and Your Health.”
Thanks to their partnership, we’ve hosted nearly a dozen PHA Connects events and will offer additional live events throughout the summer and into the fall. As part of this series, we have scheduled regional and national virtual support groups through the end of the year. If you missed any PHA Connects events, you can join thousands of people who have viewed the videos on our website.
Despite continued uncertainty from this pandemic, I am grateful we can count on one another in the PH community. If you need to talk to someone, please email us. If you have questions, concerns or suggestions, don’t hesitate to reach out to me.
Stay safe, be well and have a happy Fourth of July,
Brad A. Wong
PHA President & CEO