The PHA on the Road –San Francisco PH Patients and Families Education Forum drew almost 200 members of the pulmonary hypertension (PH) community to the San Francisco Westin Airport hotel for a day of education, inspiration and connecting.

The event for individuals with PH and their families and caregivers featured informative sessions from local PH experts on all aspects of the disease, including managing medications, signs and symptoms, trends in research and tips on living with the condition. The day kicked off with a general session on “PH 101: The Journey Through Diagnosis and Treatment” by Dr. Dana McGlothlin of Kaiser Permanente San Francisco Medical Center. In each session, attendees, who came from as far away as Washington state and Nevada, had opportunities to present questions to the experts. More questions were answered during a lunchtime “lightning round” Q&A session with an expert panel.

Pharmacist Crystal Zhou of UCSF, who spoke at a session about managing the side effects of medications, offers her insights about PHA on the Road.

The day of sessions wrapped up with a spotlight on PH research with Dr. Vijay P. Balasubramanian of UCSF Fresno, who reminded attendees about how much the survival rate for individuals with PH has improved in the last 20 years.

While the event was educational, it was also about connecting. For some who came to PHA on the Road, the event had a family reunion feel to it. Familiar faces abounded, and hugs were plentiful. Those new to PH found a welcoming environment and discovered a supportive community.

Attendee Stacey Brown shared her comments on why a person should consider attending a PHA educational forum:

PHA on the Road also featured support group meetings that were tailored for specific groups: caregivers, parents of children with PH, long-term patients and those newly diagnosed.

Inspiration was provided by the keynote speech given by Mona Singh of Petaluma, Calif., who described her recent diagnosis of PH and her involvement with PHA. “I hope that you have found strength in knowing that you are not alone in your journey,” she told participants. “I for one am so grateful there are resources and a big, ever-growing community that is here to help.”

PHA on the Road  travels next to Kansas City, Kan., on Oct. 12. Go here for more info!

Bonus material! Check out these sessions from PHA on the Road –San Francisco.