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UH Rainbow uses largest grant ever, $48 million, to prepare for global health events

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Posted at 9:08 AM, Aug 31, 2021

CLEVELAND — University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital (UH Rainbow) is leading the way nationally on pediatric preparedness for future disasters and global health events like the coronavirus pandemic.

The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) awarded hospital was awarded its largest grant ever, more than $48 million, to establish a Regional Pediatric Pandemic Network. It will support the planning and preparation of child healthcare facilities to respond to global health threats, including pandemics, and support communities in everyday pediatric readiness.

“They have their own unique sets of needs that really sets them apart from the adult population,” said Dr. Charles Macias, UH Rainbow’s Chief of Pediatric Emergency Medicine. “So our systems for responding to pandemics, to responding to disasters, have to be carved out very specifically for children.”

UH Rainbow will join four other hospitals across the U.S. that will support the planning and preparation to respond to natural disasters across the country in which large numbers of children need emergency care at once.

“So our ability to understand what does it look like if we need to lean on our partners that are geographically close to us,” said Macias. “If we have to send patients there, if they have to send patients to us, do we have the right Telehealth systems in place? Do we have the right legal guidance to be able to exchange patients across state borders? Do we have the right means to monitor where capacity exists?”

The Regional Pediatric Pandemic Network includes:

  • UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital
  • University of California San Francisco-Benioff Children’s Hospital
  • University of Louisville School of Medicine-Norton Children’s Hospital
  • University of Utah Health-Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital
  • Saint Louis University-Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital

“We began this work before the global pandemic, and 2020 proved how important it is for hospitals, health care infrastructures, government and private entities to work together to create a coordinated emergency response model,” said Macias. “This grant is an amazing opportunity to grow a national model whose impact can inform all aspects of pediatric preparedness, from daily efforts to global health threats.”

“We are grateful for this transformative grant from HRSA to continue critical work for the safety and well-being of our children across our nation,” said Heidi Gartland, chief government and community relations officer at UH.