Children's Colorado announces its acceptance into the Pediatric Heart Network

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Children's Hospital Colorado (Children's Colorado) is announcing its recent acceptance into the Pediatric Heart Network (PHN), a collective of leading hospitals working to improve outcomes and quality of life for children – and more recently adults – with heart disease. The hospital's Heart Institute will become one of nine clinical research centers across North America selected to be a part of this national network. 

We are thrilled to be accepted as a new core site for the Pediatric Heart Network. As one of only eight stand-alone pediatric cardiology research centers in the country, we are uniquely positioned to ensure that children and young adults with heart disease in the Midwest and Rocky Mountain regions have equitable access to these important research studies."

Shelley Miyamoto, MD, professor and Jack Cooper Millisor Chair of Pediatric Cardiology and co-director of the Heart Institute

The goal of the PHN is to bring cutting-edge treatments, trials and studies to patients through the collaboration of the nine participating hospitals. Over the next seven years, the selected congenital heart centers will work together to conduct multisite research in pediatric and congenital heart disease projects, bringing even more leading and innovative trials, studies and treatments to patients treated at these sites. 

Funded by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the PHN will provide $2.4 million over the term of the award to Children's Colorado, which was selected as a core site in the Gateway to the West consortium with Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. As such, Children's Colorado pediatric leaders will participate in all PHN-led clinical studies and serve on the executive committee and all other PHN committees. 

The network aims to improve health outcomes in children with heart disease – particularly congenital heart disease –and more recently, in adults, by unifying an at-times fragmented congenital heart disease research community. Over the past 22 years, the multicenter collaborative effort has supported 25 large studies, including 10 clinical trials, adding treatments and improving care for pediatric heart disease patients.

The application process to be a part of the PHN is a competitive and rigorous endeavor that spanned six months. The application process began in January of 2023. Awardees had to demonstrate a strong institutional commitment to pediatric cardiovascular research and education, the infrastructure to participate and lead multicenter clinical trials, and a broad range of expertise among study team members. In addition, each site had to develop and pitch a study proposal, which is currently being considered for the next phase of clinical studies.

"We are confident that our exceptional outcomes and team members were key to securing this award," Miyamoto said. "We are thrilled to be able to have even more collaboration and information from other PHN hospitals and to be able to offer even more valuable resources and options to our patients."

Leading the new core site alongside Children's Colorado's Dr. Miyamoto is Emily Bucholz, MD, PhD, assistant professor of pediatrics and a fetal cardiologist, in collaboration with Washington University's Andrew C. Glatz, MD, the Louis Larrick Ward Professor of Pediatrics, and Jennifer N. Silva, MD, a professor of pediatrics and of biomedical engineering. The two centers will work together as the Gateway to the West consortium, with regular virtual and in-person meetings, as well as a shared plan to enhance diversity in research participants, and a shared mentorship model to train the next generation of pediatric cardiology clinical investigators.

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