Support Group Leader Advisory Board

The Advisory Board helps strategize, plan and implement programming for the support group leader network.

debra hines
Debra Hines

Debra has been leading the Dallas PH Support Group in Dallas, TX since early 2017. She normally uses an agenda to keep them meetings on track, however, she is very flexible if they veer off. The group is very close knit and family oriented. They have monthly meetings. Debra is chair of the Southwest Regional Networking Group. Debra is also on the ZebraPhest planning committee.

linda hooley
Laura Hooley

Laura was diagnosed with pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) in 2006. She has been a PHA support group leader since 2015 and leads the New Hampshire Support Group with Cherie Caputo. The group’s monthly attendance has increased since it began meeting remotely. Laura has presented at PHA on the Road in Providence, Rhode Island, and she is a member of the PHA Covid-19 Task Force. Read more about Laura.

Marcie McGregor
Marcie McGregor

Marcie was diagnosed with idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension in 2012. She started the Augusta, Georgia, PHA Support Group in 2015. Marcie loves leading the group, which meetings every other month. She says group is almost like a family because the members are so close. After leading several virtual meetings, Marcie started a vlog about her life with PH for family and friends of people with PH.

Nikole Nichols

Nikole was officially diagnosed with Idiopathic Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension in 2011. She became a support group co-leader in 2019 for the Northern Nevada area. Meeting on a quarterly basis, the group has thrived under the virtual meeting format. The members of this group are spread out over hundreds of miles. Many group members live in areas where there are no other patients. Nikole enjoys bringing the PH community together. As the group grows, she hopes to expand activities and gatherings.

Pat Ofori

Pat was diagnosed in 2011 with PH and scleroderma. She leads the Lower Westchester County PH support group and is chair of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Networking Group. From April to December each year, her support group meets at local restaurants in Westchester County. Pat always uses an agenda to stay organized and focused and list PHA information and resources. Her biggest strengths as a leader include problem solving, sharing resources and being attentive to group members.

Monica Penaranda

Monica was diagnosed with pulmonary arterial hypertension in 1997. She started her pulmonary (PH) journey when she was 16. Along the way she started advocating and holding fundraising events in her hometown. She is the support group leader for the Greater Los Angeles group. Monica loves to bring patients together to help inspire each other.

Diane Ramirez

Diane was diagnosed with pulmonary arterial hypertension in 1987. She is the PHA support group leader for the Piedmont Area Support Group in North Carolina. Her group normally meets four times a year. Diane stays in contact with her group members and enjoys spending time with everyone.

Tina StiyerTina Stiyer

Tina is the pulmonary hypertension coordinator at Froedtert and the Medical College of Wisconsin, a position she has held since November 2009. Tina has been leading the Southeast Wisconsin PH support group for the past four years. Recently, the Milwaukee Group (St. Luke’s Medical Center) and the Southeast Wisconsin group, (Froedtert and the Medical College) have merged in order to combine their resources to try and reach even more patients. Her co-leader for this new group is Nancy Niebauer, R.N., PH coordinator at St. Luke’s Medical Center. Tina joined the advisory board to help others who are struggling with their support groups by sharing ideas and resources.

Doug Taylor

Doug Taylor’s pulmonary hypertension journey began a few years before he was diagnosed. Now a long-term thriver, Doug has been active with the Pulmonary Hypertension Association (PHA) since 2007 when he took over as leader of the Midlands South Carolina Palmetto PHriends Support Group. Doug says the best thing about having PH is the people he’s met, including other patients, caregivers, health care providers, PHA staff and pharmaceutical reps. They all come together to make the PH community special. Doug encourages people with PH, including himself, to never give up hope and celebrate each day.

Submit a question or comment if you’ve experienced an issue at a PHA support group meeting or as a PHA support group leader