The Pulmonary Hypertension Association (PHA) honored seven remarkable people during a June 11 ceremony at the PHA 2022 International PH Conference and Scientific Sessions in Atlanta.
PHA’s Outstanding Member Awards recognize dedication and service to the PH community and PHA through volunteer efforts in patient/caregiver support; advocacy; promotion of quality patient care; and advancing PH research.
While only seven individuals were honored this year, PHA salutes all members of the community for their contributions to help change our lives for the better. PHA couldn’t achieve its work without the commitment of the entire PH community.
Julie Paton Hendry Memorial Scholarship: Betty Lou Wojciechowski
Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) has affected Betty Lou Wojciechowski for 40 years. Her husband Jerry and all four of their children were diagnosed with the disease. Today, her daughter Michelle and son Mark receive triple therapy. Sadly, her husband and sons Michael and Matthew died from PH. Betty Lou served on the PHA Board of Trustees for 20 years and has been a support group leader, consultant and PHA fundraiser, raising more than $400,000 for PAH research. Today, Betty Lou lives in Southern California, where she retired from teaching elementary school after 35 years. She continues to advocate for the PH community.
Outstanding Physician Award: Steven M. Kawut
With clinical and research interests focused on pulmonary vascular disease and lung transplantation, Steven M. Kawut, M.D., M.S, is recognized as a leader in promoting excellent clinical care, research, education and advocacy on behalf of PH patients. Dr. Kawut’s clinical trials related to PAH and studies of physical activity in people with PH are funded by the National Institutes of Health. He chaired the initial steering committee of the PHA Registry and serves on PHA’s Scientific Leadership Committee. Dr. Kawut is on the editorial board of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine and an associate editor at the European Respiratory Journal. He is the director of pulmonary hypertension/pulmonary vascular disease and at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine.
Outstanding Allied Health Professional Award: Fran Rogers
Fran Rogers, CRNP, is nurse practitioner and clinical coordinator at Temple University’s pulmonary hypertension/CTEPH program. She has a Master of Science in nursing from the University of Pennsylvania and has been active in PHA and the PH Professional Network (PHPN) since 2007. She was PHPN vice chair in 2013 and PHPN Symposium Committee chair in 2015. Fran has been a member of the PHPN Executive Committee Leadership for six years and is the immediate past president. She has been a speaker and poster presenter at PHPN symposiums and PHA conferences, a support group leader and PHA fundraiser. Fran has been co-captain of Team Temple Health for the O2Breathe Walk Philadelphia for several years.
Outstanding Young PH Citizen Award: Jackson Wall
Jackson Wall was diagnosed with PAH when he was 14 months old. He is on triple therapy and has been on subcutaneous remodulin since he was 19 months old. Jackson has always jumped at the opportunity to tell people about PH and his pump. At age 5, he gave an impromptu speech at a PHA event. When he was 7, he was featured in a PHA Classroom video. He also helps his family host an annual golf tournament, where speaks about his PH journey.
Outstanding PH Citizen Award: Chloe Temtchine
Chloe is an award-winning singer, songwriter, speaker and the creator of “Super Brave,” an interview series that features kids and adults living with chronic illnesses. After she was diagnosed with PH and pulmonary veno-occlusive disease, she survived on oxygen for years, despite being given little time to live. Twelve years later, Chloe went into cardiac arrest, which put her in a coma and on life support until she received a lifesaving, double-lung transplant. Chloe performed her song “Be Brave” at PHA 2016 International PH Conference and Scientific Sessions.
Outstanding Caregiver Award: Sadie Ruiz
Sadie Ruiz is a warm-hearted caregiver to her mother Monica Sanchez. Sadie has embraced this role since she was 6 years old, when her mother was diagnosed. Sadie cares for her mother by sorting weekly medications; advocating and spreading awareness; helping do her hair and get dressed on days she can’t do so independently; draining subcutaneous sites; or making her mom laugh. Sadie graduated from California State Polytechnic University-Pomona in 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in psychology.
Outstanding PHA Support Group Leader: Betsie Miklos
Betsie Miklos is a long-term PH survivor, diagnosed with severe idiopathic PAH in April 2010. During the PHA 2012 International PH Conference, she met and connected for the first time with other PH patients. After returning home, she re-activated the Northern Virginia PHA Support Group. Ss leader of the support group, she has helped patients and families realize positive futures while living with PH. When Betsie learned that PHA wanted to establish a patient registry, she felt her background in technology might be helpful. Since then, she has been involved in the work PHA-accredited PH Care Centers and is a member of the PHCC board of directors.