PH Specialist Story
David Pham, M.D.
Dr. David Pham is the founder and medical director of Allianz Medical and Research Center in Fountain Valley, Calif. He has been working in the field of pulmonary hypertension for more than 10 years and constantly looks for ways to engage his patients. Dr. Pham is an active member of PHA and served as the sub-committee chair for the 2009 PHA on the Road forum in Southern California. He is also a member of the Clean Air Regional Board, helping the American Lung Association in California and the Committee on Government to promote Clean Air Bill SB375. He recently took the time to talk to us about his involvement with the PH community and his dedication to the fight against PH.
You have worked in various settings throughout your medical career. How did you become interested in pulmonary hypertension?
In my pulmonary fellowship at the University of Colorado, I took care of two patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension. One patient had pneumonia, and she passed away due to respiratory failure. The second patient became pregnant despite being advised against it. She was very lucky and both mother and child survived the ordeal.
What advances in PH treatment have you seen since you first started practicing?
Back in 1998, the only real medication was FlolanTM and trials were just starting with bosentan. Since then, we have a better understanding of the mechanisms leading to PAH, and therapy is just starting to be directed to each aspect of the pathology of the disease. Current therapies have enabled us to reduce death and delay the need for lung transplantation for patients with PAH.
What is the most important piece of advice you give your PH patients?
Growth and understanding of this disease state are occurring in leaps and bounds. Scientists from all over the world are making strides in managing this disease. We have therapies available that have impacted the lives of many PAH patients. We should educate those around us with PAH and support those who have difficulty in handling this disease. We will one day gain the upper hand against this disease.
You’re a big proponent of patient interaction and lend your office space for support group meetings. Why do you think patient interaction is so important for PH patients?
Patient interaction gives them strength and understanding that they are not alone in this disease. PAH is a disease with a “big heart” of people from patients, caregivers, medical providers and scientists standing side by side to find a cure and provide support.
How did you get involved with PHA?
I wanted to maintain scientific contact with my peers and contribute my time to help advance the care of PAH. I saw a need to bring PAH care and awareness to Orange County, Calif., and I also realized that PHA helps bring awareness of this disease to the community.
What advice do you have for new practitioners entering the field of PH?
I would say, “PAH is a challenging disorder. Significant scientific and therapeutic growth in the field have occured over the last decade. These changes need the support of new physicians to aid in the battle against this disease. Patients really appreciate every effort the new physician is providing in care, awareness and support!”