Saturday, October 8, 2011

PHPN...a building block to a better future

The more that's going on...the less time there is to write about it. 

Since the Friday before last, PHA has had meetings for our Scientific Leadership Council, medical journal Editorial Committee, Research Committee, PH Professional Network (PHPN) Executive Committee, and PHA's Board of Trustees and its various committees.   I'll try to get time to blog about some of these meetings but I'll focus today on the largest of the meetings, the 2011 PHPN Symposium.

The Symposium is a three day annual meeting that takes place every two years.  Planned by PHA's allied health group, PH Professional Network, the event is an opportunity for education and networking in this rapidly growing field.  In recent years, the event has also supported the growing strength of this community of PH nurses, pharmacists, respiratory therapists, NPs, PAs, social workers and others who support the treatment of PH patients.

The Symposium is always held in the Washington, DC area where we begin with Advocacy Day.  Almost 100 of this year's record 465 Symposium registrants participated.  Not only did they have an important and worthwhile experience talking to their elected representatives on Capitol Hill about the Pulmonary Hypertension Research and Education Act but they bring that experience back to their medical centers and patients.

This year a special target for Symposium was increasing the number of abstracts and posters presented.  This is a shared learning opportunity and one for which PHPN leadership wanted to build the skills needed.  In order to do this, they knew they had to teach.  They created a new section of the PHA website on submitting an abstract for a poster presentation.  One of their founding members, Lisa Wheeler, research coordinator at the Vanderbilt University PH Center recorded a webinar, guidelines and samples were posted and mentoring was offered.  A Symposium that had no abstracts two events ago and very few at the last Symposium grew to 40 at this year's event.  The value of information exchange was huge not only for this meeting but is now a skill that exists within the community and will grow and be used at future symposia and other medical meetings for the benefit of medical knowledge in the field.

The educational program is always rich, This year's Symposium - chaired by Melisa Wilson, APRN, BC - with 60 expert presenters   delivering an information-filled program was no exception.  A real highlight was a plenary session entitled A New Dimension of Hope: Virtual Catheterization Lab presented by Russel Hirsch, MD, Cincinnati Children's Hospital and James Tarver, MD, Orlando Heart Center.  Rather than slides, Dr. Hirsh used a specially created animation of a heart catheterization.  It was a wonderful teaching opportunity.  Motivation is also a powerful Symposium element and this year's keynoter, Jessica Lazar MPA, PA-C , was a huge hit, telling her story of the Kilimanjaro Climb she and Drs. Benza and Frantz did for PH awareness. 

PHA had all the sessions filmed and they will soon appear on PHA Online University, enriching teaching opportunities for medical professionals around the world.

Since the first Symposium in 2003, I have watched these meetings grow from 60 attendees to, this year, well over 400.  They have become not only a cornerstone of medical education for allied health professionals in the field but they have also sparked stronger collaboration that is now taking place every day online and face-to-face.  Seeing the level of commitment and compassion, I have no doubt that PHPN has become an essential building block, leading the way to a better future for patients and their families.

No comments:

Post a Comment