“Nobody really knows of this disease, it has similar symptoms to asthma, or being out of shape. The more we can educate physicians about it, the better.” Says Brad Wong, president and CEO of The Pulmonary Hypertension Association in an interview with app.com.

In 2017, Patient Services Inc., at the annual Evening of Hope in Washington D.C., awarded Wong with the Extraordinary Support Award.

What Is The Extraordinary Support Award?

The Extraordinary Support Award is given to a person who has made outstanding contributions of service to ensure that patients living with a chronic illness maintain quality of life and exceptional treatment.

Who Is Brad Wong?

Brad Wong is a nonprofit executive with more than 25 years of experience in the health care field. The Pulmonary Hypertension Association appointed Brad as its president and CEO in June 2016. Prior to joining PHA, Brad served as the first executive director of the Foundation of the American Academy of Ophthalmology. Before joining the Foundation, he was assistant vice president of the University of California San Francisco Foundation.

Throughout his career, Brad has been personally and professionally committed to improving access to quality care, strengthening medical education, advancing medical research, and empowering patients to become effective advocates for their personal care and the health care policies that affect them.

Brad believes that the real strength and impact of an organization comes from building collaborative staff teams and partnerships with volunteers and organizations that share a common mission to extend and improve the lives of patients.

What Is The Pulmonary Hypertension Association?

From the PHA website, “Three PH patients and a caregiver founded PHA 25 years ago with the mission of ending isolation for and extending the lives of PH patients. Since then, the number of FDA-approved treatments has grown from zero to 14 and PHA has provided more than $17 million in research commitments. In addition, since 2014, PHA has completed the accreditation process for more than 30 PHCCs across the U.S. and established the Pulmonary Hypertension Association Registry, which will play a key role in developing new and better treatments, methods of care, and, eventually, a cure.

Headquartered in Silver Spring, Md., with a growing list of chapters across the country, the Pulmonary Hypertension Association (PHA) is the country’s leading pulmonary hypertension organization. Its mission is to extend and improve the lives of those affected by PH; its vision is a world without PH, empowered by hope. PHA achieves this by connecting and working together with the entire PH community of patients, families and medical professionals. Among its programs, PHA facilitates more than 245 support groups around the country and delivers continuing education for medical professionals through PHA Online University. For 12 consecutive years, PHA has received the highest rating — four stars — for fiscal accountability and transparency from Charity Navigator, placing it in the top half of one percent of all rated charities.”

What Is Pulmonary Hypertension?

According to The Pulmonary Hypertension Association, Pulmonary hypertension (PH), is a complex and often misunderstood disease. The term PH means high blood pressure in the lungs. In “regular” hypertension (also known as high blood pressure or “systemic hypertension) the pressure in the arteries throughout the body is higher than it should be. This can be measured with a blood pressure cuff. In PH, the blood vessels specifically in the lungs are affected. They can become stiff, damaged or narrow, and the right side of the heart must work harder to pump blood through.

Common Symptoms Experienced by People With PH

The most common symptoms of PH can also be caused by other more common medical problems, such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Therefore, diagnosing PH is difficult and requires a specialist. Physical examination signs can include visible or enlarged veins on the side of the neck, irregular heart sounds or swelling in the abdomen or legs and feet.

As with all rare diseases, early-detection is critical. As Wong continued in his interview with app.com, “By the time the disease is accurately diagnosed, statistics show it’s very late-stage. Like many diseases, if you catch it early there are therapies and things you can do. But because it is often diagnosed very late, the average age between diagnosis and death is 2.8 years.”

You can learn more about PHA and Pulmonary Hypertension at phassociation.org.

The PSI Evening Of Hope

The Evening of Hope acknowledges, celebrates and honors patient champions in the chronically-ill community. Guests who attend can expect an extraordinary night with delicious food that reflects the fall season, cocktail hour, an exemplary company, education, and entertainment.

Follow along on social media at the upcoming Evening of Hope with PSI on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. You can also learn more about the work of Patient Services Inc., and how you too, can become an advocate for greater access to affordable health care and treatment for patients with rare, chronic conditions, here.