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$418,781 Awarded to 2021 Leadership Circle Grant Recipients
By Claire Natale - Thursday Oct 28, 2021
Four grants totaling more than $418,000 were awarded on Wednesday, September 22 from the Phoenix Children’s 2021 Leadership Circle Grant Presentations. The annual Leadership Circle Luncheon resumed to in-person and live-stream event after it moved to an online format last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The event was hosted by David Higginson, Executive Vice President and Chief Innovation Officer of Phoenix Children’s and Carey Pena of Inspired 360 Media.

Once a year, Leadership Circle members have the opportunity to hear researchers, physicians, nurses, and other hospital innovators present their cases for support to the group. Members then vote to determine which projects to fund and how their funds will be prioritized.

“The presentations gave us a glimpse into the transformative innovation taking place at Phoenix Children’s,” said Dana Jirauch, Senior Director of Philanthropy at Phoenix Children’s Hospital Foundation. “The projects proposed by our six finalists are proof that Phoenix Children’s truly is shaping the future of pediatric medicine.”

The 2021 Phoenix Children’s Leadership Circle directors include co-chairs Clarissa and Brian Robinson, Charli Morrow and Jerry Schwalbach (also co-chairs), as well as Julia and Taylor Burke, Carol and Dr. Charles P. Dries Jr., Gail and Ed Ober, and DeeDee and Ken Vecchione.

The grants that were selected by the Leadership Circle members to be funded include:

Project Title: Dyslexia Screening Questionnaire (DYSQ)
Principal investigator: Carla C. Allan, PHD, Psychology

Project Title: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in Bone Marrow Transplant Patients and Their Families
Principal investigator: Cady Berkel PHD, Palliative Care/Bone Marrow Transplant

Project Title: A Complete Solution Suite for Fetal Cardiac MRI: Accurate Cardian Gating, Motion Correction and 3D Reconstruction of the Fetal Heart
Principal investigator: Luis F. Goncalves, MD, Radiology

Project Title: Men are From Mars; Women are From Venus: Equipment and Supplies to Evaluate how Sex Hormones Influence Brain Function
Principal investigator: Theresa Currier Thomas, PHD, Barrow Neurological Institute at Phoenix Children’s Hospital, NeuroTrauma Lab

To learn more about Leadership Circle and the 2021 grant recipients, visit

About Phoenix Children’s
Phoenix Children’s is one of the nation’s largest pediatric health systems. It comprises Phoenix Children’s Hospital–Main Campus, Phoenix Children’s Hospital–East Valley at Dignity Health Mercy Gilbert Medical Center, four pediatric specialty and urgent care centers, 11 community pediatric practices, 20 outpatient clinics, two ambulatory surgery centers and six community-service-related outpatient clinics throughout the state of Arizona. The system has provided world-class inpatient, outpatient, trauma, emergency and urgent care to children and families for more than 35 years. Phoenix Children’s Care Network includes more than 850 pediatric primary care providers and specialists who deliver care across more than 75 subspecialties. For more information, visit