Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Child Health Website Launched

The Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington D.C has just launched their first child health focused “crowdfunding” website at The site gives the general public access to directly support any of the four featured research projects.

This pediatric “crowdfunding” program is designed as a pilot project to gauge both the need for additional funding sources from investigators and the interest of the general public in supporting specific research aimed at helping children.

“We know that government and philanthropic research funding is more competitive than ever before,” said Floortje Blindenbach-Driessen, PhD, head of the “crowdfunding” initiative. “We also know through our institute’s focus on pediatric innovation, there are many good project ideas out there that are either too small to qualify for funding or need additional assistance to begin. This website could become a venue for these projects to earn the support they need.”

Four research projects were selected for the pilot based on their stage of development and their potential to have longstanding impact on how care is provided to children. These projects would:

  • Develop a new digital media technology system to engage children visiting the Pain Medicine Clinic in fun, educational, high-tech activities in the waiting room before their appointments. The child could interact with the technology so that when they enter the exam room, the hospital’s pain medicine experts would have additional information on the child that could help the doctor. 
  • Treat asthma with a handheld application to enable parents to measure the amount of dangerous particulates in the air of their home. Then by taking action to reduce the dangerous situation, future asthma attacks could be prevented
  • Develop a first of its kind software program to detect Down syndrome without blood tests and be able to do extensive analysis by using image recognition in an affordable way
  • Involve image-guided surgery and use a novel open source toolkit designed to explain image guided surgery to doctors, biomedical engineers, patients and families, via hands-on-learning
The “crowdfunding” pilot will run for at least 90 days. If successful, the next phase of development would include the addition of several more projects across Children’s National Medical Center.

“This project is exactly the kind of paradigm shifting effort that the Sheikh Zayed Institute was created to support,” said Peter Kim, MD, PhD, Vice President of the Sheikh Zayed Institute. “As with any innovative idea, the outcomes are unknown but if we could redefine how important research ideas for children can be successfully funded this would show even greater potential.”