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Meeting on Health Disparities in Congenital Heart Disease: Listen. Learn. Act.

Conquering CHD hosted the Meeting on Health Disparities in Congenital Heart Disease, as part of their intentional efforts to advocate for all impacted by CHD.


If you are in the TL;DR (too long; didn’t read) camp, check out our 8-minute wrap-up and call to action. Answers to the audience’s questions are available here.


Dr. Ram Kumar Subramanyan opened the meeting with a compelling presentation, Why Do Health Disparities Matter? Dr. Subramanyan is a cardiothoracic surgeon at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, Assistant Professor of Surgery at Keck School of Medicine at USC, and the current Chair of Conquering CHD’s Scientific Advisory Committee.

The first of four sessions during the meeting was Barriers Affecting ACHD Care, moderated by Dr. Roberta Williams. Dr. Williams is a pioneer in the field of echocardiography and has been instrumental in developing ACHD as a subspeciality. The panel of experts included Dr. Wayne Franklin of Phoenix Children’s Hospital, Dr. Stephanie Fuller of Children’s Hospital of Pennsylvania and University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Keila Lopez of Texas Children’s Hospital and Baylor College of Medicine, Dr. Sasha Opotowsky of The ACHD Program at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, Ms. Roslyn Rivera, RN, of UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital, Ms. Jennifer Weiner of Conquering CHD, and Ms. Jennifer Iguina of Conquering CHD – Florida.

Session two was Implicit versus Explicit Bias, moderated by Ms. Rita Higgins, RN. Ms. Higgins is the parent of a young adult living with CHD, as well as an experienced advocate and speaker. The panel of experts included Dr. Kiona Allen of Lurie Children’s Hospital and Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine, Dr. Sal Ginde of Children’s Wisconsin and Wisconsin Medical College, Dr. Veronica Gunn of Genesis Health Consulting, Dr. Shuntae Williams of Hematogenix and Black Scientist Cooperative Podcast, and Ms. Tori Smith, a parent of teens living with CHD and also a bereaved parent.

Session three brought a robust discussion on Access to Care versus Access to Quality Care, moderated by Dr. Brett Anderson. Dr. Anderson is the current Vice Chair of Conquering CHD’s Scientific Advisory Committee and an Attending Congenital Cardiologist at Columbia University Irving Medical Center. The panel of experts included Dr. Elijah Bolin of Children’s Hospital of Arkansas and University of Arkansas Medical School, Dr. Joseph Burns of Cohen Children’s Medical Center and Committee on Native American Child Health, Dr. Shab Peyvandi of UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital, Dr. Ram Kumar Subramanyan of Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, and Ms. Carol Raimondi, RN of Conquering CHD – Illinois.

The final session of the meeting was Addressing Cultural Differences in CHD Care, moderated by Drs. Wendy Nembhard and Nicolas Madsen. Dr. Wendy Nembhard is a public health researcher from University of Arkansas. Dr. Nicolas Madsen is a pediatric cardiologist at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. The panel of experts included Dr. Adrienne Kovacs of OHSU Knight Cardiovascular Institute, Dr. Erica Sood of Nemours Children’s Health System, Dr. Andrew Van Bergen of Advocate Children’s Heart Institute, and Mr. Ken Woodhouse, an adult living with CHD.


If you would like to join Conquering CHD’s efforts in addressing health disparities, get in touch today!

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