2014 Leadership Circle Grant Finalists

Congratulations to the 2014 Leadership Circle Grant Finalists that will advance to the Leadership Circle Grant Luncheon on April 17.  Details about each of the grant requests are listed below.

Finalist: Smita Bailey, MD
Division: Radiology
Request: Ultrasound Elastography
Amount: $100,000

Early childhood obesity is a growing epidemic in the United States, with researchers estimating that 21% of children ages 2 to 5 years are already obese or overweight. A 2010 study of Arizona children stated nearly 18% (320,000 children) are obese, and the rate of childhood obesity in the state increased by nearly 46% between 2003 and 2007 the largest increase of all states.

The health consequences of obesity are numerous, including Type II diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol and an increased prevalence of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). NAFLD may result in progressive liver fibrosis and liver failure affecting approximately 80% of obese children in the United States. Liver biopsy is the standard to assess liver disease and is an invasive technique with risks and limitations. These factors have led to development of non-invasive methods of liver disease assessment.

Ultrasound Elastography (USE) is an emerging imaging technology which uses sound waves to assess the mechanical stiffness of a tissue and provides information about tissue characteristics to diagnose and quantify liver fibrosis or stiffness to reduce dependence on liver biopsies. USE is able to identify the liver disease early and direct the right course of treatment in a timely and effective manner. We would like to request Leadership Circle Grant funds to purchase advanced Ultrasound imaging software to establish the first Pediatric Ultrasound Elastography program in Arizona.

Finalist: Jeffery Jacobsen, MD
Division: Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders and Pathology
Request: Improving Time to Diagnosis, Enrollment, and Treatment of Leukemia Patients
Amount: $28,439

Thirty-five percent of all childhood cancer diagnoses are leukemia, making it the most common childhood cancer. Despite survival rates of greater than 90% for acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), there is an ongoing need to decrease the time to initial diagnosis, allowing therapy to be initiated sooner and decrease the time of hospitalization. Currently, the time from presentation to Phoenix Children’s Hospital to the initiation of chemotherapy for patients diagnosed with ALL takes approximately six days and includes two medical procedures under general anesthesia.

Our goals are multifold: 1) to decrease the time to diagnosis and to the initiation of leukemia treatment, 2) to decrease the risk of anesthesia and combine two medical procedures into one procedure, 3) to decrease the length of hospital stay of an uncomplicated, initial hospital admission for the purposes of diagnosis of ALL and treatment initiation, and 4) decrease net cost with one less medical procedure under anesthesia and with a shortened hospital stay. Grant funds will be utilized for this pilot study to: support testing of peripheral blood studies that may shorten the time to diagnosis and make it possible to eliminate one of two medical procedures under general anesthesia.

Finalist: Elizabeth Linos
Division: Rehabilitation Services
Request: ArmeoSpring: Pediatric Upper Extremity Rehabilitation Device for Children
Amount: $63,138

The purpose for our grant request is to purchase the Hocoma’s ArmeoSpring Pediatric Upper Extremity Device to provide advanced rehabilitation services to children ages 4-14 with upper extremity weakness as a result of Spinal Cord Injury, Traumatic Brain Injury, Cerebral Palsy, and other Neurological illnesses. The ArmeoSpring Pediatric is specifically designed for and adapted to the needs of children with movement impairments in their arms and hands resulting from neurological conditions. It is a valuable tool to improve therapy by facilitating intensive and functional movement exercises supported by motivating, game-like tasks as a basis for best possible therapy outcome.

The ArmeoSpring Pediatric is used in the world’s leading rehabilitation programs for upper extremity rehabilitation and would be the only device of its kind in the Western United States. Phoenix Children’s Hospital has a strong tradition and reputation for providing the highest level of care for children. With the addition of the ArmeoSpring Pediatric we look to continue our proud tradition and cement the idea and reputation that we offer the world’s most advanced forms of rehabilitation technology to our patients to aid in their recovery.

Finalist: Stephen Pophal, MD
Division: Children’s Heart Center for Pediatric Cardiology
Request: 3D Printed Cardiac Libraries for Family Consultation and Medical Education
Amount: $59,000

The purpose of this program’s request is to create novel tools to enhance Phoenix Children’s Hospital’s (PCH) family-centered care initiative and medical education outreach. The proposal is to augment the resources available at PCH that produce patient-derived models of complex cardiovascular anatomies. Using a newly requested 3D modeling software that allows medical images to be transformed into physical models via a 3D printer, PCH’s 3D Cardiac Print Lab (3DCPL) will create two cardiac libraries. These resources will: 1) support PCH’s family-centered care initiative and 2) strengthen PCH’s role in medical education outreach.

The goal of the family-centered heart library is to facilitate PCH’s move towards recognizing each family’s unique healthcare challenges. Acknowledgment of family needs in addition to patient care fits with PCH’s mission. Patient-derived heart models will help to provide a comprehensive, clear, and unbiased view of a family member’s complex cardiovascular ailment. The objective of providing this information is to assist in family education and coping, both integral to PCH’s family-centered care. On the other hand, the medical education library will directly strengthen PCH’s vision of “providing advanced education and training for clinical providers.” PCH already plays a prominent role in disseminating knowledge at the University of Arizona’s (UA) Medical Center. The proposed library will not only add to the cardiac resources available to all medical students, but also improve the current congenital heart defect (CHD) educational program.

The two proposed libraries will impact patient care through patient-family education and enhance the training and education of medical students (who often become residents at PCH). Built using the newly requested 3D modeling software, the proposed CHD libraries can be leveraged to initiate new opportunities of sustainability, particularly through commercialization of educational modules.

Finalist: Theresa Currier Thomas, PhD
Division: Child Health, Barrow Neurological Institute at Phoenix Children’s Hospital
Request: Integrated Computer Microscope Analysis System Capable of 3D Digital Neuron and Vascular Reconstruction
Amount: $99,867

I am seeking support for a one-time purchase of a MicroBrightfield (MBF) Bioscience integrated computer microscope analysis system containing Neurolucida software, an integrated computerized morphometry system. This system performs state-of-the-art three-dimensional (3D) digital neuronal and vascular reconstructions to fulfill a critical need by translational researchers at Barrow Neurological Institute at Phoenix Children’s Hospital in the department of Child Health at the University of Arizona College of Medicine-Phoenix.

The goal of translational research is not just to treat the symptoms of neurological deficits, but to understand why they occur and how we can prevent them. Often, pharmacological treatments can and do improve the day-to-day life of children with neurological deficits; however the long-term effects of treatments and influence of rehabilitation has not been studied on the structural level. The fact that the pediatric brain is highly plastic (still changing), begs to challenge whether therapies targeted at structural changes, rather than functional changes can result in improved long-term benefits. This equipment will help us identify the magnitude of structural alterations that underlie the functional deficits and the genesis of long-lasting symptoms arising from brain injury, epilepsy, autism, Alzheimer’s disease and other neurological deficits/diseases.

Together, with the electrochemistry equipment funded last year by the Leadership Circle, research understanding both the structural and functional foundation for neurological deficits can be conducted, improving treatment strategies for multiple pediatric conditions. The applications of this technology to pediatric conditions are boundless.

Finalist: Haley Westfall
Division: Pulmonology and Cystic Fibrosis
Request: Pulmonary Function Testing Efficiency and Infection Control Enhancement and Lung Clearance Index Testing
Amount: $102,050

The purpose of this grant request is two-fold: 1) to purchase 3 portable Pulmonary Function Testing (PFT) machines and 2) a Lung Clearance Index machine to support the patients of the division of Pulmonology and the Cystic Fibrosis (CF) Programs.

These PFT machines are an integral part of the ongoing treatment of the patients within this division and are used significantly on a daily basis. The machines test the volumetric function of the lungs in order to give an indication of how well the lungs are functioning. Portable machines would allow for a much more efficient clinic flow for general pulmonology and asthma patients by allowing the respiratory therapists to perform the testing within the patient exam room and RNs to perform the PFT’s during high volume clinic days/times.

The addition of the Lung Clearance Index machine would improve the current ability of the division of pulmonology to assess and manage diseases with airway involvement. In the last decade there has been a growing interest in lung clearance index (LCI), a measure of lung physiology derived from a technique using multiple breath washout tests. This resurgence of interest was initially driven by the recognition that such assessments were capable of detecting early airway disease in children, and are more sensitive and easier to perform in this population than conventional lung function tests. In summary, LCI is expected to be the new standard of care in early detection of CF and other airway diseases in infants through adulthood.

Finalist: F. Anthony Willyerd, MD
Division: Pediatric Critical Care
Request: Human Brain Tissue Research Cryostat
Amount: $48,575

This is a request for grant funding for the purchase of a research cryostat certified for use with human brain specimens. A cryostat is necessary for research requiring ultrathin sectioning of tissue samples and would allow safe and expeditious processing of such. In this case, a cryostat for cutting human brain tissue would permit the development of translational research from the lab bench to the bedside. It is crucial to have the proper equipment when conducting research that uses precious and scarce resources, such as human tissue, in order to avoid waste. Grant funds will be used to purchase the Leica CM3050S research cryostat which is certified to efficiently and safely process human brain tissue with precision. The grant funds would also allow the purchase of the foot pedal accessory for hands free use, replacement blades, and shipping & handling.

One of the primary focuses of the Translational Neurotrauma Research Group involves research into restorative and regenerative strategies in acute neurological injury. Research studies investigate bioengineering, pharmacologic strategies and rehabilitation programs in order to influence outcomes and the lives of our patients and their families affected by acute neurologic injury. The acquisition of a cryostat for human brain tissue research will allow the means to discover how human physiology changes at this critical barrier and design studies that can be implemented at the patient’s bedside.

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Leadership Circle members from throughout the community each give $1,000 (or more) annually, pool their donations, then vote to decide which grants actually receive funding – a fun, high-impact way to give.  Voting occurs at the annual Luncheon, April 11.

How to Join

Join online today by clicking here.

For more information please contact:
Kelly Lane at (602) 933-2616 or klane@phoenixchildrens.com


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