American Heart Association and The Children’s Heart Foundation host reception for CHD Research Award Recipients
The 2017 American Heart Association Scientific Sessions conference was packed full of exciting new findings in the fields of cardiac and stroke research. The week-long event in Southern California also served as an opportunity to celebrate past discoveries as well as the important work that continues.
One such event took place when representatives from The Children’s Heart Foundation (CHF) and the American Heart Association (AHA) honored recipients of the co-funded Congenital Heart Defect Research Awards with a breakfast reception.
The CHD Research Awards, reaching a combined total of $22.5 million from the two organizations, were established to provide support for investigators who are actively conducting basic, clinical, population or translational research directly related to congenital heart defects. The Research Awards have been granted bi-annually since July 2014 and will continue to be awarded through June 2021.
While celebration was certainly in order, the researchers in attendance quickly stressed the need for further study in the field of congenital heart defects.
“I think that pediatric congenital heart disease and surgery are really open books at this time,” said CHD Research Award recipient and pediatric cardiologist Jesse Davidson from the University of Colorado. “There is so much we don’t understand about how kids react to their surgery and how that triggers long-term changes in their cardiac development.”
CHDs are among the most common birth defects, and the leading killer of infants with birth defects in the U.S. Roughly 40,000 children are born in the U.S with a heart defect each year. The incident rate of CHDs has not decreased over time. However, thanks to advancements made through research, more infants with CHDs survive to adulthood. Collaborations like the one between the AHA and the CHF are vital to the continuation of these advancements.
“The world is full of problems and the world is full of solutions and the job of the researcher is to bring those two together,” said John Kheir, cardiologist with Boston Children’s Hospital and Assistant Professor at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Kheir’s team is utilizing the CHD Research Award to study whether the administration of hydrogen gas can decrease the amount of brain injury that occurs during and after a cardiopulmonary bypass.
“Funding from the AHA and CHF is great because it allows small projects that could have potentially a big impact to get started,” said Dr. Kheir. “I really felt like when I applied for this grant funding that people really understood the magnitude of the problem and the potential impact of the technology.”
For more information about the AHA and CHF research grant awards, including deadline information please visit www.professional.heart.org/CHDResearchAwards. Additional information about the AHA and the CHF can be found at www.heart.org/congenitalheartdefects and at www.childrensheartfoundation.org.