Oklahoma City, June 25, 2020
Presbyterian Health Foundation (PHF) has awarded a $200,000 grant to Children’s Hospital Foundation (CHF) in support of a one-million-dollar campaign for research and clinical programming focused on heart-related illnesses in children.
The funds will be used to support the pediatric heart research of cardiothoracic surgeon, Dr. Harold Burkhart, the holder of the CHF Brandon Weeden Endowed Chair. Burkhart and his team are researching new technologies to treat symptoms of pediatric heart conditions, developing nonsurgical procedures to improve the health of pediatric patients, and investigating genetic links that could one day help prevent congenital heart conditions in newborns.
“The research and clinical efforts led by Dr. Burkhart have tremendous life-saving potential for Oklahoma’s children and families who are faced with critical heart conditions,” said PHF President Tom R. Gray, III. “PHF is proud to support the efforts of Children’s Heart Center to accelerate their cardiothoracic research and offer the best treatments available to our kids right here in Oklahoma.”
PHF has long supported children’s health in Oklahoma, having contributed approximately $5.7 million in total support to Children’s Hospital Foundation since 1992.
With support from PHF and other generous donors, Burkhart and his team are taking a two-pronged approach to battling children’s heart disease through conducting groundbreaking research and offering the best in clinical treatments for heart-related illnesses. This campaign is a part of a two-million-dollar fundraising goal with the first million raised by former National Football League quarterback, Brandon Weeden, to support an endowed chair for Burkhart. The second million, seeded by PHF’s gift, is being raised for the research.
“Research to improve the care and outcomes of children with cardiac defects is critical to our mission at the Children’s Heart Center,” said Burkhart. “This cannot be accomplished without foundation and community support. I want to express my sincerest gratitude to the Presbyterian Health Foundation for their generous gift supporting research that will ultimately allow us to make a difference in the lives of Oklahoma’s cardiac kids. A special thanks to the Children’s Hospital Foundation as well, for their continued care and support of our heart children.”
The diagnosis of a child’s heart condition can be terrifying and life changing. As soon as a diagnosis is received, time is of the essence—it is critical for families to be close to a highly specialized treatment team with experience, knowledge, and the most cutting-edge technology. In the past, finding that level of care meant traveling out of state. Now, thanks to the work of Children’s Heart Center, top of the line treatments are available at Children’s Hospital in Oklahoma City.
The Children’s Heart Center offers the highest pediatric cardiac care available in Oklahoma by utilizing a multidisciplinary team of heart specialists and surgeons, specialized pediatric operating rooms, and the only dedicated pediatric cardiovascular intensive care unit in the state.
“Dr. Burkhart has an incredible team that takes care of children with heart defects, and it’s unmatched anywhere in the state,” said Brooks Altshuler, CHF Board President. “We are thrilled to have Dr. Burkhart hold the CHF Brandon Weeden Endowed Chair and to be able to care for our pediatric cardiac patients, and grateful for the support of generous donors who understand this need.”