Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Bringing ideas to reality ... for the good of us all

Here is a guest blog from Kim Lamon-Loperfido, PHA’s Patient & Caregiver Services Manager, who has recently taken on coordination of the Tom Lantos Innovation in Community Service Awards.  Since its launch five years ago, the program has held true to the goals of supporting good ideas that can make a difference to the PH community. The Lantos Grants help patients and family members bring those ideas to reality. They then become resources and models for the PH community as Best Practices for us all. About half the awards are made to U.S. applicants, while the others support ideas from our partners in other nations.

Bonnie Patricelli and son Ryan Juntti, a PH patient,
created "Hot Holders for Hope" with a 2012 Lantos grant.
These hot beverage cup sleeves spread PH awareness
and point people toward PHA for more information.
I’m excited to be managing the Tom Lantos Innovation in Community Service Awards program this spring, and I’d love to tell you more about it and how you can get involved. This program allows members of the PH community to fund and make their ideas for raising PH awareness a reality. Already I have had conversations with several community members who have experienced a spark of inspiration but aren’t quite sure how to turn that spark into a full project for their application. Through these conversations, we have explored the primary goal they are trying to work toward, and from there, we’ve filled in details on how they can reach that goal. It’s been so inspiring to hear what our community has been contemplating. And I’d love to hear from you, too!

This program is now in its fifth year of funding projects to advance the PH cause. This year the Lantos Awards program will provide as many as 10 grants of up to $5,000 each. Both domestic and international applications are welcome.

If you need ideas for projects or just want to see what others have done in the past, we’ve got lots to share. Take a look at some of the projects from the past four years:
  • Steve Van Wormer, a PHA Board member and PH parent, created a series of PSAs to help raise PH awareness. One on the importance of early diagnosis of PH has become so popular, it’s been translated into more than 30 languages to help more than 40 national PH associations build their own early diagnosis campaigns across the globe. View the PSAs
  • The PH association in Spain used its award to organize the first Seminar on Psychological Care for PH Patients, which reached out to psychologists and psychiatrists in Madrid. Learn more
  • Donna Caterini, a PH patient and support group leader in Pennsylvania, used her Lantos Award to create PH awareness posters depicting the story of the three little pigs. The wolf is a PH patient, huffing and puffing, and the little pigs appear carefree because they know the wolf can’t get them. View the poster 
From the pages of the award winners above, you’ll be able to link to all the 2010, 2011 and 2012 awardees to see the ideas that have been funded and stimulate your own thinking. These are just some of the ideas from the past, and those wishing to apply for funding should know that their projects can also replicate the efforts from previous Lantos Awards. For example, you can take a previous idea and introduce the project to a new audience or add a new component.

The grant program is named for the late Rep. Tom Lantos, a longtime congressman from California who was the original sponsor of our bill in Congress after his granddaughter was diagnosed with PH. The program is funded by Gilead.

For more information or for help with your application, please reach out to  I am so excited to work with you as you turn that spark of inspiration into a full-blown project to advance the PH cause. Although applications are due by April 15, 2014 – let’s chat today!

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