Starting with a panel made up of Children’s Health Network Development and Innovation Senior VP Julie Hall-Barrow, Main Event Entertainment Chief Brand Officer Sarah Beddoe, DFW Airport EVP of Innovation Paul Puopolo, Pert Jain LP Principal Cindy Revol, LH Capital/Lyda Hill Philanthropies CEO Nicole Small and Health Wildcatters CEO/Co-Founder Dr. Hubert Zajicek, the group discussed how the past months of COVID-19 had resulted in “breakthrough thinking of the health care and technology industries.”
The consensus was that COVID-19 had proven to be a double-edged sword. While it had been a shock to the system in lifestyles and health concerns, it had also forced each of their areas of expertise to change their game plans, both currently and looking to the future.
Nicole pointed out that “Philanthropy came together [in Dallas] to create a platform in which to help the various needs resulting from the pandemic. While a pandemic is frightening, it forces things to speed up like people coming together in a variety of ways.”
The panel discussion was followed by a brief update by Children’s Health Research Administration and Professional Services Operations VP Brenda Paulsen and UT Southwestern Chief of Infectious Diseases Prof. of Pediatrics and Microbiology| Children’s Health Chief of Infectious Diseases| Children’s Health Medical Director of Research Dr. Jeff Kahn on the need for clinical studies, especially in regards to pediatric care.
Brenda pointed out that in the 1970s, a child diagnosed with cancer had only a five-year survival rate. Today, thanks to clinical research, 84% of children with cancer have a survival rate of five years or more.
Jeff discussed how initially COVID-19 was thought to have little impact on children. Early on, only 2% of children were diagnosed with COVID-19 in Dallas; that number has now increased to 12%. He then admitted that COVID-19 was a “formidable foe.” Early on in the COVID-19 epidemic, another disease — “Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C)” — emerged. It was different from acute COVID that is primarily a respiratory disease. MIS-C affects other parts of the body, especially the heart and the gastrointestinal and neurological systems, and can emerge months after initial infection.
Both Brenda and Jeff stressed the need for more clinical research targeted at pediatric care.
According to Jeff, the vast number of clinical trials that are taking place are focused on adults, and very few are addressing children. Stressing the need for the difference in studies in adults and kids, Jeff said, “Children are not small adults.”
Luckily, thanks to sampling and working together, Children’s and UT Southwestern are ideally situated to address questions about COVID.
To help support research and to expand the awareness of research being done at Children’s Health, Brenda explained that the Innovators program will be a bit like “Shark Tank.” The plan calls for members to
- Discover: Listen to presentations from renowned researchers that hold unique potential for future discoveries.
- Invest: Commit to a $5,000 minimum contribution that will be pooled with other Innovators for maximum impact.
- Influence: Vote on the specialty area that you, and the other Innovators, agree will yield the most ground-breaking medical advances.
- Experience: Go behind the scenes with doctors and researchers to learn about scientific processes through a hands-on, externship-style experience.
- Celebrate: Recognize the impact of your collective investment in research discoveries that transform patient outcomes, and make life better for children and their families.
What’s more, the program is not limited to adults. High school students can join by “giving or raising $1,000 annually. In addition to learning about pediatric discoveries and the healthcare industry, they will also learn the importance and rewards of giving to others.”
If you’re interested in joining or want more information, check in with Grace Copeland by calling 214.790.6125.