Van Riper and Pados Awarded “Dhillon’s Gift” Grant Funding

Congratulations to Professor Marcia Van Riper and alumna Britt Pados for being selected to receive grant funding from the Dhillon Jordan Shah Innovation Fund in Congenital Heart Disease.

Dr. Van Riper and her team received $4,000 to conduct their study “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.”

The purpose of the study is to examine how social determinants of health influence child and caregiver health-related quality of life and family adaptation. The study will follow three groups of families from two countries (Spain and the United States): (1) families of children with congenital heart disease, (2) families of children with Down syndrome, and (3) families of children who have both congenital heart disease and Down syndrome. The study’s long-term goal is to provide a comprehensive understanding of modifiable factors contributing to health outcomes for children, primary caregivers and families.

Team members on the study from the UNC School of Nursing include co-investigators Louise Fleming, PhD, RN; George Knafl, PhD; Kathleen Knafl, PhD, FAAN; and Beth Skelton, MSN, CPNP-PC. Co-investigators from Spain include Laura Serrano, PhD, Professor, Clegio de Educación Especial Cambrils; Karen Armijos-Yambay, MS, Doctoral Student, Autonomous University of Barcelona; and Blanca Egea Zerolo, PhD, Head of Nursing Studies, Comillas Pontifical University.

Dr. Pados also received $4,000 for her study “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.”

The study will test the hypothesis that symptoms of problematic feeding will be higher in infants with indices of poor autonomic regulation after neonatal cardiac surgery, taking into account number of functioning ventricles and oral feeding skills at hospital discharge.

Dr. Pados received her PhD from the UNC School of Nursing in 2015.

Also known as “Dhillon’s Gift,” the Dhillon Jordan Shah Innovation Fund in Congenital Heart Disease was established by Dhillon’s maternal grandmother, Dr. Bev Foster, a long-time member of the School of Nursing faculty, and her family to honor his memory. Please read more about Dhillon and the fund established to memorialize him here.