Leaders from Pulmonary Hypertension Association (PHA) support groups in Ohio, Kentucky, Michigan and Indiana recently participated in a regional training summit.

The Sept. 18 event in Louisville, Kentucky, covered planning, advertising and running support group meetings. It also was an opportunity for leaders to meet, share information and support each other. Leaders discussed crucial aspects of support group meetings, such as respecting confidentiality, making attendees feel welcome and supported, giving everyone a chance to share, handling difficult situations, and providing education or new information.

PHA’s support group leader training sessions are interactive, dynamic and fun. In one exercise, leaders practice resolving difficult situations through role play, and the session ends with a quiz to help participants retain what they learned. The group discussed challenges and successes of leading support groups, which include:

  • Providing support and connection for people affected by PH, even for small groups.
  • Favorite meetings, education topics, and activities, such as game days and holiday parties.
  • Q&A opportunities with healthcare professionals.
  • Making new friends.

“I took away a lot of ideas to attract new attendees and grow my group back to the participation we had before the pandemic,” said Connie Gill, leader of the Cincinnati North PHA Support Group.

Connie plans to consult the list potential speakers brainstormed by the group to make sure the Cincinnati North group meetings are educational and beneficial to attendees.

Find an in-person or virtual PHA support group.

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