Washington DC, July 19 10, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — A group of children’s hospitals across the country will coordinate response to future pandemics and other disasters with a new $29 million grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). The group, known as the Pediatric Pandemic Network (PPN), will focus on the unique needs and challenges of children during pandemics and disasters, ensuring that health equity is at the forefront of emergency planning.

The five hospitals are:

  • Children’s National Hospital in Washington, D.C. (lead institution)
  • Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago
  • University of Alabama at Birmingham Department of Pediatrics at Children’s of Alabama
  • Kansas City Children’s Mercy
  • Seattle for kids

“As the current pandemic has proven to the world, pandemics and public health crises magnify pre-existing environmental, health, social, and economic inequalities,” said Joelle Simpson, MD, MPH, principal investigator of this grant and head of emergency medicine division and emergency medical director at Children’s National. “Communities of color not only feel the impact of pandemics and disasters much more severely than others, but also have a harder time getting help and assistance. If the needs of vulnerable populations are not taken into account in emergency planning, the national disaster preparedness strategy could fail for all.

Hospitals recognize that while the COVID-19 pandemic has been devastating to the world, the pediatric population in particular has been challenged by a lack of established coordination among pediatric care providers. In addition to addressing health equity, the funding facilitates the following:

  • Establish avenues to collect and disseminate research-based information on how to care for children in a future pandemic from medical providers and community organizations.
  • Develop telehealth infrastructure to support care for critically ill children and expand access to mental health.
  • Expand pediatric-focused emergency preparedness and planning with an emphasis on behavioral health, social support, and educational services, which are typically provided by community agencies.

The center of this grant will be located at the recently opened Children’s National Research and Innovation Campus – the site of the former Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. Work will take place in the Institute of Pathology of the renovated armed forces, where former investigators made major discoveries in the field of infectious diseases and pandemics. The old campus was named after Walter Reed due to his work around discovering the cause and preventing yellow fever outbreaks. This modern team of medical researchers intends to make equally important contributions in future pandemics and other disasters to help preserve the health of our country’s children.

In September 2021, HRSA launched the regional PPN by funding five pediatric hospitals to support the planning and readiness of children’s hospitals to respond to a global health threat. This new grant doubles the size and scope of the network to benefit all children nationwide.

Media contact: Diana Troese | [email protected]

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About Children’s National Hospital

Children’s National Hospital, based in Washington, DC, was established in 1870 to help every child grow stronger. Today it is the fifth largest children’s hospital in the country. It is ranked #1 for newborn care for the sixth consecutive year and ranked in all specialties assessed by US News & World Report. Children’s National is transforming pediatric medicine for all children. The Children’s National Research & Innovation Campus opened in 2021, a one-of-a-kind pediatric center dedicated to developing new and better ways to care for children. Children’s National has been designated a Magnet® Hospital three times in a row, demonstrating the highest standards of nursing and patient care. This pediatric academic health system provides specialty care through a convenient community primary care network and specialty care centers throughout the DC metro area, including Maryland and Virginia. Children’s National is home to the National Children’s Research Institute and the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation. He is recognized for his expertise and innovation in pediatric care and as a strong voice for children through advocacy at local, regional and national levels. As a non-profit organization, Children’s National Hospital relies on generous donors to ensure that every child receives the care they need.

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  • Five leading children’s hospitals secure $29 million in federal funding to improve future pandemic preparedness