Wong’s appointment by the PHA Board of Trustees coincides with the association’s 25th anniversary. The second CEO in PHA’s history, he has served has executive director of the Foundation of the American Academy of Ophthalmology (FAAO), where he has created a number of innovative programs, established strategic collaborations, and increased FAAO funding.
Wong, who has served in the past as assistant vice president of the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) Foundation, will also bring to PHA his knowledge on biomedical research environments and academic medicine.
“I greatly admire PHA’s unique strength as the heart of the PH community,” Wong said in a press release. “With deep appreciation for PHA’s considerable achievements over the past 25 years, I’m honored to have the opportunity to join the cause and lead efforts that further the mission to extend and improve the lives of those affected by PH.”
PH is an increase of blood pressure in the pulmonary artery, pulmonary vein, or pulmonary capillaries, together known as the lung vasculature, leading to shortness of breath, dizziness, fainting, leg swelling, and other symptoms.
“Brad Wong joins PHA as we celebrate our accomplishments and an important milestone in our history, acknowledging our need for focused, dedicated, experienced, and visionary leadership in the continued fight to prevent and cure PH,” said Dr. Stephen White, PHA board chairman. “Brad is a seasoned results-oriented healthcare association executive who comes to PHA at a pivotal time as we begin to build the next phase of our strategic plan. This will include broadening our services through the new and steadily growing PH Care Center (PHCC) accreditation and patient registry program, leveraging our early diagnosis and public awareness campaign, building upon our medical education programs and expanding and diversifying our funding base.”
Wong will succeed Rino Aldrighetti, who is retiring after 17 years of service.
Twenty-five years ago, on Jan. 12, 1991, three PH patients and a caregiver met around a kitchen table in Florida and laid the foundation of what would become the PHA. The organization has since evolved into an international community of over 16,000 PH patients, caregivers, family members, and healthcare professionals. But as it has grown, the PHA has stayed true to the vision and ingenuity of the founders, working to end patients’ sense of isolation, improve public understanding and education, and to find a cure for PH.
Since the PHA’s founding, the number of U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved treatments increased from zero to 14. PHA has provided over $17 million in research commitments, and since 2014 has completed the accreditation process for over 30 PH care centers across the U.S. In addition, the group founded the Pulmonary Hypertension Association Registry, which will be important for the development of novel and better therapies, methods of care, and, ultimately, a cure for the disease.
“This announcement completes a thoughtful, year-long process that started with information gathering from the PH community, including patients, caregivers, industry leaders, medical professionals and fellow Board members,” said Roger Towle, the Board of Trustees chair-elect for the PHA, who also chaired the search committee. “We have been fortunate to work with Pamela Kaul and Lisa Fisher at Association Strategies Inc., who guided us through this intensive search and section process. We are confident that Brad embodies the special qualities needed to lead the PH community in achieving our vision of a world without PH, empowered by hope.”
The management transition will coincide with the association’s International PH Conference and Scientific Sessions, June 17-19 in Dallas, Texas, which this year is expected to have about 2,000 families, health professionals, researchers, and PH-related industry professionals.