Dhillon Jordan Shah Innovation Fund in Congenital Heart Disease

Dhillon Jordan Shah

About Dhillon’s Gift  

The Dhillon Jordan Shah Innovation Fund in Congenital Heart Disease, or Dhillon’s Gift, was created by his maternal grandmother Bev Foster and family at the UNC School of Nursing to honor the memory of Dhillon Jordan Shah, who was born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome, a severe congenital heart defect. His 12.5 years were a heroic series of hurdles and milestones, inspiring everyone around him every step along his remarkable journey. Dhillon received medical care in three world-class institutions: UNC Health Care, the University of Michigan Health System, and the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Dhillon’s Gift honors not only Dhillon but the health professionals who contributed to his care. 

Dhillon’s Gift provides seed money to fund innovative projects for faculty, students and practitioners at all levels related to congenital heart defects across the lifespan. The goal of this initiative is to stimulate the career development and lifelong interest of health professionals in congenital heart disease (CHD), including prevention, patterns of occurrence, assessment, treatment, care across transitions, family resources and needs across the continuum of care, and the growth and development of the child into adulthood. It is estimated by some studies that there are currently over 2 million infants, children, adolescents and adults living with CHD in the US (CDC, 2021). 

Learn more from Dr. Beverly Foster on Heart to Heart, a podcast dedicated to the congenital heart defect community. Listen here

Questions? Please contact Dr. Jennifer Leeman, Interim Associate Dean for Research, at jleeman@email.unc.edu.

Dhillon’s Gift Award Recipients +

2023
Beth Cosgrove, PhD, MSN, RN, PNP-PC

“Our Lives, Our Stories: Young People with Chronic Health Conditions Tell Their Own Stories” (Received $10,000 award).

Read more.

2022
Donruedee Kamkhoad, MSN, RN

“Nutritional Status, Eating Behaviors, and Gastrointestinal Symptom Cluster Among Thai Children During Cancer Chemotherapy” (Received $2,211.20 award).

Read more.

Mary Killela

“Medical Crowdfunding” (Received $5,650 award).

Read more.

2021
Danielle Stolfi, MSN ’19, RN, CCRN; Jessica Floriano, RN, MSN, PNP AC/PC, FNP-C, Nurse Practitioner, Division of Pediatric Cardiothoracic Surgery, UNC Health Children’s Hospital; Pace Johnston, MD, Assistant Professor and Co-Director of Advanced Cardiac Imaging, UNC Children’s Hospital; and Ashley Kellish, DNP, RN, CCNS, Clinical Assistant Professor, UNC School of Nursing

A 3-Dimensional Dive into the Fundamentals of Pediatric Congenital Heart Defects. (Received $3,125 award).

Read more.

2020
postponed due to COVID-19 

2019
Britt Pados, PhD, RN, NNP-BC, Assistant Professor, Connell School of Nursing

Relationships between autonomic regulation after neonatal cardiac surgery and symptoms of problematic feeding in the first year of life in infants with congenital heart disease. (Received $4,000 award).

Read Pados’ paper “Feeding at 6-12 months in infants with CHD” in Cardiology in the Young.

Marcia Van Riper, PhD, RN, FAAN, Professor, UNC School of Nursing

Social Determinants of Health-Related Quality of Life and Family Adaptation in Families of Children with Congenital Heart Disease, Families of Children with Down Syndrome and Families of Children with Both Congenital Heart Disease and Down Syndrome. (Received $4,000 award).

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2018
Marcia Van Riper, PhD, RN, FAAN, Professor, UNC School of Nursing

Families and Congenital Heart Disease: Family Adaptation in Three Groups of Families. (Received $7,500 award).

Read more.

2017
Britt Pados, PhD, RN, NNP-BC, Adjunct Faculty, UNC School of Nursing

Feeding Difficulties in Infants and Young Children with Congenital Heart Disease and will be carried out in North Carolina Children’s Hospital’s Feeding and Swallowing Program. (Received $2,500 award).

Reina Tan, MD, Cardiac Electrophysiology Fellow at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

Clinical Outcomes of Patients with Congenital Heart Disease following Pacemaker Implantation. (Received $2,500 award).

Read more.

Dhillon’s Story +

On December 6, 2002, Dhillon Jordan Shah was born a brown-haired, brown-eyed, pink-cheeked baby boy. He came home, but a few days later, was rushed back to the emergency room at UNC Hospitals where he was diagnosed with hypoplastic left heart syndrome. 

Surrounded by his family’s love and hope, Dhillon’s imperfect—but mighty—heart underwent what would become the first of many surgeries. In the waiting room, Bev Foster sat vigil not as associate professor and director of the UNC-Chapel Hill undergraduate nursing program, but as Dhillon’s maternal grandmother. After his surgery, she and her family began a journey rich with bravery, joy and bold purpose until Dhillon’s death on July 23, 2015 from complications of a heart transplant. 

Read more

Support Dhillon’s Gift +

Thank you for your generosity. To make a gift to the Dhillon Jordan Shah Innovation Fund, please visit our secure online giving page or you can mail a check, made payable to the UNC School of Nursing with Dhillon’s Gift in the memo line to: The UNC School of Nursing, c/o UNC Gift Services Office, P.O. Box 309, Chapel Hill, NC 27514-0309. 

Make Your Gift Online 

Need help making your gift? Please contact the School of Nursing Office of Advancement.