Congenital heart defect research awardees announced, request for applications for additional funding opens

$200,000 in new research has been funded with up to $1 million available in the next round of funding

Dallas, June 26, 2019 – The Children’s Heart Foundation, the nation’s leading organization dedicated to funding congenital heart defect research, and the American Heart Association, the world’s leading voluntary organization focused on heart and brain health, announce the newest recipients of the Congenital Heart Defect Research Awards program. This program is a collaborative investment of funds by the two organizations for medical professionals to better understand and treat congenital heart defects (CHDs), the most common birth defect in the United States. The newest awardees are:

  • Ai Wern Chung, Ph.D, Boston Children’s Hospital: Exploring differences in brain structure among adults with CHD
  • Rafael Jaimes, Ph.D., the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation at Children’s National Health System, Washington, D.C.: Research into the changes seen in metabolism after cardiopulmonary bypass.

This is the sixth round of co-funded research through the CHD Research Awards program, and the first year that The Children’s Heart Foundation and the American Heart Association are jointly requesting applications. Scientists who are conducting research to prevent and treat CHDs may submit applications for the next round of funding by September 19th. In addition, there are two award categories for early career investigators and transformational projects.

“We are honored and excited to continue our research funding partnership with the American Heart Association," said Barbara Newhouse, CEO of The Children’s Heart Foundation. "Through this collaboration and our ongoing commitment to research focused on congenital heart defects, we strive to make a lasting impact on the lives of those with CHDs. This new research will help bring innovative solutions to improve survival rates and care for all CHD patients.”

Both the latest round of awards and the new joint application process will advance the work of scientists seeking to understand why approximately 40,000 babies are born with CHDs each year and how to best treat them from childhood into adulthood. It is estimated that more than 2.4 million people in the U.S. are living with a CHD.

“Beginning this year, the new joint request for applications for the Congenital Heart Defect Research Awards will help attract the best and brightest applicants from the cardiovascular research community and evaluate them through a new peer review process,” says Jamie Lohr, M.D., F.A.H.A., Associate Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Pediatric Cardiology at University of Minnesota Medical School. "This collaboration demonstrates the commitment of the American Heart Association and The Children’s Heart Foundation to improving the lives of patients and families impacted by congenital heart disease."

Individual donors may contribute to CHD research through the Hope and Jack Fund, which was ignited by American Heart Association volunteer Len Berenfield of Ohio who was so moved by the stories of young CHD survivors Hope and Jack that he donated $100,000 to start a congenital heart defect research fund. The fund is established and administered by the American Heart Association and is facilitated through the CHD Research Awards program.

Additional Resources:



About the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association

The American Heart Association is devoted to saving people from heart disease and stroke –  the two leading causes of death in the world. We team with millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, fight for stronger public health policies, and provide lifesaving tools and information to prevent and treat these diseases. The Dallas-based association is the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke. To learn more or to get involved, call 1-800-AHA-USA1, visit or call any of our offices around the country. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

About The Children’s Heart Foundation

The Children’s Heart Foundation (CHF) is the country’s leading national organization solely committed to funding congenital heart defect (CHD) research. The mission of CHF is to fund the most promising research to advance the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of congenital heart defects. Since its inception, CHF has funded more than $11 million dollars of CHD research across the U.S. and Canada. For more information, please visit Follow us on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter.


Media Inquiries

Alexson Calahan, American Heart Association

Lauren DeVoe, The Children’s Heart Foundation

Note: Vendor or solicitation inquiries will not receive a response

For Public Inquiries: 800-AHA-USA1 (242-8721) and