PHA Board of Trustees
Rita Orth, RN
Support group leader
Board term ending: January 2018 (third term)
Rita and her husband Guy Orth live in Danville, Calif. She was diagnosed with PAH in 1999 and after being on calcium channel blockers for a short time, started on Flolan in 2000. Rita was working in a hospital at a job she loved on the medical/surgical units and ICU/CCU. However, shortly after diagnosis she went on disability with the encouragement of her cardiologist.
While searching the internet for more information about the disease Rita discovered PHA. She called the Patient-to-Patient Support Line and spoke with PHA founder Pat Paton on many occasions. Rita has been volunteering for the Support Line for several years as she wants to give back the hope and encouragement she received to others who are newly diagnosed. This shows in her other activities as well.
Rita and Guy are the leaders of the San Jose, Calif. PH support group, and Rita is on the 2010 Conference Committee as the chair of Conference support groups. She has also been on the planning committee of the California PH Forum since 2000. In addition, she is a patient advocate volunteer for seniors in skilled nursing facilities in her county. Rita has been to every PHA conference since she was diagnosed and was so inspired by the advocacy work and research efforts for a cure that she included PHA in her will. Rita says, “I have always been a big patient advocate and even more so now that I am the patient!”