From the Chair
With the transition of MPN to PHI I decided to devote this column to outline some of the history of PHI and how we can use their resources to find information on post-polio syndrome.
What is PHI?
For many of us we look at the Warm Spring Conference of 1985 as the starting date of the gathering of post-polio information, but there was considerable post-polio information being shared before that date. In 1958 Gini Laurie becomes editor of Toomeyville Jr. Gazette, the mimeographed newsletter for Toomey Pavilion in Cleveland, Ohio, a respiratory center for poliomyelitis patients. She became the driving force behind the sharing of post-polio information and in 1981 coordinated the first post-polio conference in Chicago.
Followed in 1983 by the Second International Post-Polio Conference and Symposium on Living Independently with Severe Disability, Saint Louis, Missouri. The newsletter’s name was changed to Gazette International Networking Institute, Inc. (GINI).
In 1984 Judith Raymond was hired as first executive director. GINI published “The Handbook on the Late Effects of Poliomyelitis for Physicians and Survivors,” edited by Gini Laurie, Frederick M. Maynard, MD, D. Armin Fischer, MD, and Judith Raymond.
In 1985 the International Polio Network (IPN) was founded and begins publication of Polio Network News.
The Third International Polio and Independent Living Conference was held in Saint Louis. GINI also began publishing the Post-Polio Directory, listing clinics, health professionals and support groups knowledgeable about the late effects of polio.
In 1987 the International Ventilator Users Network (IVUN) was formed and began the publication of the IVUN News.
Judith Raymond Fischer resigns as executive director and Joan L. Headley is hired as director of the International Polio Network. The IPN continued to hold conferences every 2 years in St. Louis.
In 1999 a revised edition of Handbook on the Late Effects of Poliomyelitis for Physicians and Survivors, edited by Frederick M. Maynard, MD, and Joan L. Headley, MS. was published.
In 2003 the name was changed to Post-Polio Health International (PHI) Including International Ventilator Users Network. PHI working in conjunction with the John P. Murtha Neuroscience & Pain Institute at Conemaugh Health System in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, provided monthly conference calls for the Post-Polio Clinic Directors.
Archival materials were loaned to The Smithsonian Institution for the "Whatever Happened to Polio?" exhibit at the National Museum of American History.
Funds were received from Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation to create a guide to assist ventilator users in surviving emergencies.
In 2007, PHI launched an annual WE’RE STILL HERE! campaign to remind the world that, while polio has been declared eradicated in most places around the globe, polio survivors are still here. They are contributing members of society and active in their communities, taking an active role as civic leaders, teachers, doctors, nurses, lawyers, artists, farmers and elected officials. A post-polio awareness campaign was started, this campaign continues every October.
In 2011 Polio Place was added to the website. Polio Place Explores the past, the present and help build a promising future for the world’s polio survivors. You are invited to learn by searching the major sections and sub-sections and to add your knowledge to help others.
The booklet Health Care Considerations for Families and Friends was published with input from a panel of experts with experience in treating and educating the survivors of polio. They compiled facts and wisdom targeting family members and friends caring for relatives who had polio. Polio survivors and families suggested items to be included in this booklet.
PHI's quarterly newsletter contains current information about the late effects of polio, updates about post-polio related and neuromuscular respiratory research, as well as articles that offer practical and useful advice by experienced survivors and health care
professionals and a monthly on line “Memo to Members.”
The quarterly also contains a column “Ask DR. Maynard” and Conversations on living well with polio and more by Sunny Roller.
For more information go to www.post-polio.org
This article was written using information from the PHI website
Bruce E. Sachs MA
Michigan Polio Network