The Pulmonary Hypertension Association (PHA) has named a new president and chief executive officer, Brad A. Wong, of San Rafael, California. Wong will take on his new role June 19 at the country’s oldest organization dedicated to supporting patients, caregivers, medical professionals, and research scientists in the fight against pulmonary hypertension (PH).
Wong’s appointment, decided by the organization’s Board of Trustees, coincides with PHA’s 25th anniversary. Wong is only the second CEO in the history of the organization. Before joining the PHA, Wong served as executive director of the Foundation of the American Academy of Ophthalmology (FAAO). There, he helped to create innovative programs, raised the foundation’s visibility, set up strategic partnerships, as well as increasing and diversifying funding.
Additionally, Wong had been assistant vice president of the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) Foundation, where he gained knowledge of academic medicine and biomedical research.
“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.”
Wong’s predecessor, Rino Aldrighetti, was PHA’s first president and CEO and will retire in June after 17 years of service. Aldrighetti was the organization’s first employee. Not only does the transition coincide with the PHA’s 25th anniversary, but also the PHA’s International PH Conference and Scientific Sessions, June 17-19 in Dallas, Texas.
“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’s 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 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,” White said.
The PHA was founded 25 years ago by three pulmonary hypertension patients and a caregiver who wanted to end isolation for PH patients, as well as extend their lives. Since then, the number of U.S. FDA-approved treatments has risen from zero to 14, and PHA has funded more than $17 million in research commitments.
“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,” added Roger Towle, PHA’s Board of Trustees chair-elect and chair of 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.”
Pulmonary hypertension is a rare, progressive disease in which the right side of the heart is pressured, potentially to the point of right heart failure. Shortness of breath, fatigue and chest pain are all symptoms frequently reported by patients, which is why sometimes the condition is mistaken for asthma or other less-threatening diseases. Patients can go months, or years, without knowing about their condition, and the average survival rate without treatment is about 2.8 years after diagnosis.