American Heart Association’s Children’s Strategically Focused Research Network Experience

Craig Sable*, Jennifer S. Li, Martin Tristani-Firouzi, Angela Fagerlin, Robert M. Silver, Mark Yandel, H. Joseph Yost, Andrea Beaton, James Dale, Marc Engel, David Watkins, Christopher Spurney, Asheley C. Skinner, Sarah C. Armstrong, Svati H. Shah, Norrina Allen, Matthew Davis, Lifang Hou, Linda Van Horn, Darwin LabartheDonald Lloyd-Jones, Bradley Marino

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The American Heart Association’s Strategically Focused Children’s Research Network started in July 2017 with 4 unique programs at Children’s National Hospital in Washington, DC; Duke University in Durham, North Carolina; University of Utah in Salt Lake City, Utah; and Lurie Children’s Hospital/Northwestern University in Chicago, Illinois. The overarching goal of the Children’s National center was to develop evidence-based strategies to strengthen the health system response to rheumatic heart disease through synergistic basic, clinical, and population science research. The overall goals of the Duke center were to determine risk factors for obesity and response to treatment including those that might work on a larger scale in com-munities across the country. The integrating theme of the Utah center focused on leveraging big data-science approaches to improve the quality of care and outcomes for children with congenital heart defects, within the context of the patient and their family. The overarching hypothesis of the Northwestern center is that the early course of change in cardiovascular health, from birth onward, reflects factors that result in either subsequent development of cardiovascular risk or preservation of lifetime favorable cardiovascular health. All 4 centers exceeded the original goals of research productivity, fellow training, and col-laboration. This article describes details of these accomplishments and highlights challenges, especially around the COVID-19 pandemic.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere028356
JournalJournal of the American Heart Association
Issue number7
StatePublished - Apr 4 2023


  • childhood and adolescent obesity
  • congenital heart disease
  • rheumatic heart disease
  • trajectories of cardiovascular health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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