Four New Grant Projects Funded!

Making Vision, Reality

Leadership Circle members are enabling four healthcare visionaries to realize their aspirations. After making a compelling case for their proposed projects at last month’s Leadership Circle Luncheon, members voted to award grants to the following applicants:

Carrie Schaefer, MD
Vascular Map: Safe and Efficient Venus Access
Funded: $128,000
Division: Radiology

Radiology, Cardiology and IT will collaborate to help babies and children get through PCH with less trauma of unneccesary IV sticks by mapping the blood vessels. Our team will reduce the fear of needle pokes and minimize pain by creating personalized maps of our Phoenix Children’s patients vessels for our highly skilled teams to use before attempting complex IVs. Patients with cancer, heart disease and kidney failure will benefit the most. Emergency Department and intensive care doctors as well as surgeons and interventionists will rely on this vessel map to efficiently care for their sickest patients. But even those who are getting an IV for the first time can be reassured that the vessel map will stay with them for a time that they may need another IV or line.

Steven Zangwill, MD and Jonathan Plasencia, PhD
Title: Development of a Virtual Reality Experience for Treatment Planning and for Patient and Family Education
Funded: $144,793
Division: Heart Center

The development of a virtual reality (VR) platform will provide users with a multimodal, digital experience for visualizing and interacting with patient anatomy. The multimodal process, i.e., multiple media/data process, is comprised of 3D anatomical computer models that could be fused, i.e., overlaid, with CT, MR, and/or echo medical images to enhance the experience of anatomic visualization and data interpretation. This grant will allow Phoenix Children’s clinicians to be involved in the development of an intuitive VR platform that will give them control in a more natural and seamless interface to review anatomy amongst themselves and with patient families. They will be able to easily (readily) view anatomical structures important to diagnosis without relying on directing an engineer how to render a reconstructed image. Further, VR (as opposed to 3D printed models), customized with real time interaction, will allow viewing angles and cutaway depth to be altered on the fly without the additional expense of printing and re-printing.

Shauna Schroeder, MD
Title: Transnasal Esophagoscopy for Monitoring therapy in pediatric eosinophilic esophagitis
Funded: $135,273
Division: Gastroenterology

Eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE) is an increasingly common pediatric chronic inflammatory disease.  Because of its potential to progress to esophageal stricture and the fact that clinical symptoms do not always correlate with the degree of eosinophilia, many patients have to undergo repeated assessment of the esophageal mucosa to ensure mucosal healing after implementation of treatment. There are significant risks, costs, and time commitment associated with traditional sedated esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD).   Unsedated transnasal endoscopy (TNE) can be performed safely and provide adequate tissue samples to assess for active esophageal disease.  These monies will provide the initial infrastructure and training needed for a pediatric gastroenterologist to safely perform this procedure. Unsedated transnasal endoscopy takes less time (missed from school, activities and parents work), less risk from sedation including risks of aspiration, drug reactions, and possible effects of anesthesia on the developing pediatric brain, and lastly the reduction of cost is significant. A safer, less costly procedure also provides us with the opportunity to continue to perform collaborative research with Mayo Clinic and novel projects developed by the EGD group.

Kaleo Ede, MD
Title: Preventing Blindness in Children with Juvenile Arthritis
Funded: $67,821
Division: Gastroenterology

The goal of this project is to reduce blindness and ocular morbidity in children with Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA)-associated uveitis through the use of a Rheumatology office-based Laser Flare Photometer at Phoenix Children’s.  The grant funds will be used to purchase a portable Laser Flare Photometer machine and salary for a 0.1 FTE effort from a clinical research coordinator and Biostatistics consultation.  A Leadership Grant will establish the Division of Pediatric Rheumatology at Phoenix Children’s as the first and only pediatric rheumatology division in the United States to utilize office-based laser flare photometry to screen JIA patients for the presence of JIA-associated uveitis. The combination of point of care screening with the laser flare photometer in the pediatric rheumatology office, and a partnership with the newly established Division of Pediatric Ophthalmology to expedite referrals of patients with active JIA-associated uveitis, will allow our patients to avoid the severe complications associated with this disease including blindness. This project would provide an innovative technology unavailable at any other pediatric rheumatology clinic in the US resulting in improved outcomes for our patients.  In addition, this research project will lead to improved clinical quality and safety, as well new generalizable evidence to improve the evaluation and management of all patients with uveitis at Phoenix Children’s.

See firsthand the innovation that Phoenix Children’s has become known for in redefining how pediatric medicine is practiced by renewing your membership for Leadership Circle 2020 or  join Leadership Circle 2020.

For additional information about Leadership Circle please contact Dana Jirauch at