After much anticipation, Leadership Circle at the Phoenix Children’s Hospital awarded four grant proposals a total of $522,700 on May 18, 2017.

During the reception at Phoenix Children’s Hospital, Leadership Circle Board Chair, Jen DeStefano, had the honor of awarding the four grants. Alongside her stood Ethan, a former Phoenix Children’s Hospital patient, who was born with a rare kidney disease and received a kidney transplant from his grandmother right after his third birthday. Ethan is now 10 years old; he and his family are still very active in the PCH community.


Together, Ms. DeStefano and Ethan announced the first recipient, Dr. Elizabeth Linos, Director of Rehabilitation Services. Her grant project, Walking into the Future-Vector Elite Gait and Safety System, received the most votes from the members of Leadership Circle. She received a check of $150,000 to work on her project.


Next, Dr. Brigham Willis from the Cardiovascular ICU and Dr. Mehdi Nikkah from ASU’s School of Biological and Health Systems Engineering were awarded $100,000 to work on their project. Their grant project, Tissue Engineering of Bioinspired, Personalized Neonatal Cardiac Patches to Improve Outcomes in Pediatric Patients with Congenital Heart Disease, will now be able to be put into action with the funding from Leadership Circle.


A team of Dr. Jennifer Matchey, CVICU; Andrea Polach, RN, Director of Professional Practice; Katie Barchi, RN, Quality Consultant; and Dr. Zeb Timmons, Emergency Department was presented the third check of the evening for $122,700. They proposed WATCHER: Identification of Patients at Risk for Clinical Deterioration.

Finally, Leadership Circle was happy to announce that this year they could fund four projects. The fourth and final grant project was developed by Dr. Benjamin Wright, Assistant Professor of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. His project, Gene Fingerprinting Inflammation in Tissue Biopsies, received $150,000.

None of these projects would be possible without the funds provided by Leadership Circle. Leadership Circle was founded in 2004 by a committed and compassionate group of community leaders who care deeply about ill and injured children. Annually, each Leadership Circle member gives a minimum donation of $1,000. These annual gifts are pooled and used to fund specific programs and projects, like the ones listed above.

If you are interested in joining Leadership Circle, please contact Dana Jirauch at leadershipcircle@phoenixchildrens.com or visit its website. Photos from the 2017 Leadership Circle Grant Reception are available on Flickr.