Nine support group leaders from California and Arizona participated in the Pulmonary Hypertension Association (PHA)’s most recent Support Group Leader Training Institute.

The May 7 event in San Diego featured interactive activities to enhance participants’ skills in planning, promoting, hosting and managing support group meetings. Leaders discussed tips for planning meetings to meet members’ needs, helping attendees feel welcome and supported, giving everyone opportunities to share and providing new information.

“I really liked that it was very interactive and everyone shared really good ideas,” Marisela Navarro, leader of the Long Beach PHA Support Group, says.

Far from a lecture, PHA support group training are interactive, dynamic – even fun! One exercise used role play so leaders can practice resolving difficult situations, and the session included a pop quiz to help attendees remember crucial material.

“I have a ton of tools to conduct more successful meetings,” says Stacey McCarthy, leader of the PHA San Diego Support Group.

Even long-time leaders left workshop with new ideas to re-energize their meetings. Monica Penaranda of the Greater Los Angeles PHA Support Group says, “I’m excited about the updates and changes towards planning meetings. This will allow us to refresh our meetings.”

“I really enjoyed this training,” says Kayla Dunlop, leader of the Loma Linda PHA Support Group. “I learned a lot and will use all this info to help make our local group meetings even better. It was great to meet in person with other leaders and brainstorm ideas for future meetings.”

The training institute followed the May 6 PHA Connects: PH Community Workshop, a free daylong educational event for members of the PH community. PHA also will conduct a Support Group Leader Training Institute Friday, July 28 before the PH Community Workshop in Boston.

Find a local PHA support group. 

If you don’t have a nearby support group close to you, PHA can help you start one. Bring support to your area by completing this volunteer application