Friday, September 16, 2011

Risk to reality...

Today, I did something that astonished me.

I signed a licensing agreement that will help PHA bring medical education to India in an important new way.

Why this was astonishing goes back to 2000...

On the second day of PHA's Fourth International Conference - June 24, 2000 - in the atrium of the Wyndham Hotel, Dr. Bruce Brundage, Craig Mears (then of Gentiva) and I met to talk about the possibility of publishing a medical journal.

Bruce had the reasonable concern that any publication not be "a throwaway" for the doctors who would receive it.  I saw the impact it might have but wasn't sure whether there was enough content to sustain a medical journal over the long term.  Craig was willing to talk to his company about the initial funding.

It was a different time then. There were only about 100 treating physicians in the U.S. - and they were seeing about 3,000 patients.  Only one complex and still relatively new treatment had been approved by the FDA at that point, not the nine we have today.

Several months after the Conference, Dr. Brundage (then Chair of PHA's Scientific Leadership Council) convened a telephone conference to talk about the possibility.

The group understood the potential value and decided to move forward.  Dr. Tapson at Duke was invited to become the first editor and we were off and running.  Advances in Pulmonary Hypertension: the Official Journal of the Pulmonary Hypertension Association published it's first issue in 2002.  It was a big name for a then small organization.

We were taking a huge risk for a potential large benefit. At the time of the Chicago meeting, PHA was an organization that just a year earlier had a total annual budget of $137,000.  Now we were taking on the responsibility for a new project that would cost over a quarter of a million dollars per year.  Some might say we were crazy.

As it turned out, the risk more than paid off.  Advances has published regularly in the ten years since then, reaching over 40,000 cardiologists, pulmonologists and rheumatologists four times each year, providing leadership and education from world recognized experts.  The field has grown considerably since Advances began publishing and I'm confident in saying that this journal has played an important role in that growth.

Now back to India... About 10 percent of the publication's distribution is sent to physicians in 63 nations outside the U.S. and international interest has been growing.   Over the past year, PHA has received several unsolicited requests to license international distribution and translations of Advances.

The editorial committee, led by Dr. Erika Berman Rosenzweig of Columbia University has carefully worked out a template agreement for international licensing that protects the integrity of content and allows, with PHA's editiorial review and approval, the addition of some additional content relevant to the particular nation.  Leadership of PHA's Scientific Leadership Council has approved the template.

Today, I signed our first agreement.  An Indian edition of Advances will soon be published. 

May it be as valuable to Indian physicians and their patients as Advances has been in the United States...and may it be the first of many such agreements.


  1. I am very glad to hear that an Indian edition is going to be published.As my son was diagnosed
    of pulmonary hypertension in India 5 years ago.
    Very few pediatric doctors knew or even heard this term.Its my sincere request that please try to reach physicians and specially pediatricians.As this disease is very rare and difficult to diagnose.Hope medicines like IV remodulin and tracleer can reach to Indian patient soon.And parents like me can sleep in peace that if we return back to our country our child could get those meds there too.
    Indian pha caregiver.

  2. I am pleased to know about publishing indian edition soon.Thank you so much for this great work.I have been diagnosed as PPH patient 6yrs ago in Newdelhi.Truly,it was shocking to hear from the famous cardiologist saying that you can't work as a nurse clinically,it is impossible to give fitness for your Government job.I couldn't accept his comments since i was asymptomatic.My relatives thought only about having hole in the heart when we said about it.Once i start reading the stories from PHA website,really i got the real understanding.I am sure that many medical personnels,literate can benefit and treat their patient effectively with this.

  3. I just realized that a comment I tried to post earlier never made it to the I'm trying again.

    Progress to the first Indian issue is rapid. We have just provided two pages of advertising, one to help Indian physicians become aware of the resources on and the other to offer free membership in PH Clinicians and Researchers, PHA's 600+ member physician group. We believe that knowledge and ideas should be shared freely and these are ways to accomplish this.