I began the month a bit early (October 28) with a 3 day trip to Frankfurt, Germany where I was honored to address the German PH Association - PHeV - on the occasion of their fifteenth anniversary. Their founder, Bruno Kopp, is a PH patient in a family with 15 PH patients. He is a man who said, "enough", and in 1996 decided to do something about this disease. Over 300 patients and family members attended the conference and, besides Bruno, it was great to see so many old friends, including Gunter Timm (who acted as my translator) and his son, Drs. Olschewski, Grünig and Ghofrani and PHA Europe president Gerry Fischer. The event was a strong reminder of how vibrant the global PH community has become.
The day after getting back, Dr. Rich Channick and I journeyed to New Jersey where we met with Novartis medical leadership to help them understand PHA programs and activities as they anticipate entering this market.
When I got back to the office I saw an amazing growth in the ways our community is using social networking to build awareness of PH. Weekly Facebook prompts began going out from our office with the first being, Pulmonary hypertension feels like... Emma Bonanomi summarized this week's 83 responses as...
ranging from the serious (“running up and down stairs for at least 10 minutes on an empty stomach with no sleep”), to the lighthearted (“the best dang excuse to play video games I've ever had :D”) to the inspirational (“my number one reason to fight harder”).PHA's Facebook friending (and reach) has been growing at an amazing pace this month - at 4,981 this afternoon - on pace to be over 5,000 in the next day or two.
On another communication front, our web staff - Diane Greenhalgh and Kathy Frix - added a great new tool to PHA's website. In the upper right hand corner of every page on http://www.phassociation.org/ is a select language box, allowing translation into any of 52 languages.
City, County and State PH Awareness Month proclamations have been flowing in rapidly (Elisabeth Williams reports 33 and growing) and South Carolina PHA member Doug Taylor even got his Member of Congress to discuss PH Awareness Month and PHA in the Congressional Record.
The American Thoracic Society has partnered with PHA for a PH Week (it began November 6) within that society of pulmonologists and launched a website to educate ATS membership. As part of this effort, PHA is hosting a webinar on November 10 with 5 leading physicians presenting on Improving Patient Outcomes and Early Diagnosis. Several days after the live event (over 170 registered!), it can be viewed on both PHA Classroom and PHA Online University.
Last Sunday, Jess McKearin and I were in Palo Alto, California for the Stanford Race Against PH. It was their 11th Annual begun by the Ewing family and now grown to an event that includes over 1,500 participants. Board members Harry Rozakis and Rita Orth were there to join with Drs. Zamanian, Krasnow and Feinstein and Kristi Kerivan and their great team from the Wall Center at Stanford. This year PHA launched our new Six Minute Marathon as part of the Race to provide more understanding of what PH patients go through with this disease. It was a great success and we'll be rolling out the Six Minute Marathon at other events in 2012.
While Jess and I were in Palo Alto, Adrienne Dern, our Senior VP, was speaking at the patient program at the Cleveland Clinic PH Summit and our Medical Services staff. Rebecca Kurikeshu and Caitlin Flewellen were staffing a well-trafficked exhibit at the American College of Rheumatology meeting in Chicago. Debbie Castro was on the road, too, for events in Phoenix and Fort Wayne.
The day after Palo Alto, Bob Gray and I Amtraked to New York where we had a wonderful luncheon to celebrate a major gift to the Robyn Barst Pediatric Research Fund. We'll be telling more of that story very soon. Tomorrow it's on to Memphis for an American Thoracic Society Patient Advisory Roundtable board meeting.
As I'm typing this, Megan Mallory brought in a hot off the presses copy of our 2011 annual report and that will be going out in the mail to members in the next few days. I think it gives a great outline of all that our community is doing to change the history of this disease.
We've still got a long way to go on our the Awareness Month 2011 journey. Check PHA's News Feed to see what's new with Awareness Month...and PHA's Awareness Month pages to see how you can help!