Cardiovascular, Children's Health, Spectrum Health West Michigan

Corewell Health™ Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital Pediatric Heart Transplant Program Considered Active by UNOS

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., Dec. 8, 2022 – Corewell Health Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital (HDVCH) pediatric heart transplant program is now considered active by the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS).

HDVCH is now one of three pediatric hospitals in Michigan connected to the national transplant list and database across the United States through UNOS. Physicians will have the opportunity to start evaluating patients and listing them on the heart transplant list with the first transplant expected by Spring 2023.

Since 2010, Corewell Health West, formerly Spectrum Health, has provided heart transplant services for adult patients. To help our youngest and most vulnerable patients stay in the community and closer to home, the organization filed a Letter of Intent to inform the state of plans to provide the same services to pediatric patients at HDVCH, which was confirmed in Spring of 2022.

“Having a pediatric heart transplant program in West Michigan allows us to expand care for children with heart disease while keeping those children and families closer to home,” said Hossain Marandi, MD, president, Corewell Health Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital. “One of our main goals in creating this program was to make health care more accessible, and we have achieved that goal.”

The expanded transplant program will build on a strong foundation of expertise and the success of the adult transplant program. The transplant team will be led by the following physicians:

James Hammel, MD, is a board-certified physician specializing in pediatric and congenital cardiac surgery, thoracic surgery and general surgery. Dr. Hammel earned his medical degree from the University of Michigan Medical School in Ann Arbor. He completed his general surgery residency at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, his thoracic surgery residency at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City and his congenital cardiac surgery fellowship at Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. Dr. Hammel was a research fellow in transplant immunology at the University of Nebraska and in neonatal cardiac surgery at University of Iowa College of Medicine.

Jean Ballweg, MD, is a board-certified physician specializing in pediatric cardiology. Dr. Ballweg earned her medical degree from Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee. She completed her pediatrics residency at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, her pediatric cardiology fellowship at University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and her cardiac intensive care fellowship at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia in Pennsylvania.

Francis Kim, MD, is a board-certified pediatrician specializing in pediatric cardiac critical care. Dr. Kim earned his medical degree from University of California in San Diego. He completed his pediatrics residency and his pediatric intensive care fellowship at Stanford University, Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital in Palo Alto, California. He is also board-certified in clinical informatics.

HDVCH’s heart program has outstanding cardiac surgery outcomes and has pioneered many advanced treatments, such as 3D visualization and printing with a growing population of highly complex children, some of whom may need transplant later. The ability to offer complex care closer to where these kids live is vital to their long-term health.







About Corewell Health West 

Corewell Health West, formerly Spectrum Health, is a not-for-profit health system serving 13 counties in West Michigan. Corewell Health West is a region of Corewell Health™, formerly the BHSH System (Beaumont Health and Spectrum Health) that provides care and coverage with an exceptional team of 60,000+ dedicated people—including more than 11,500 physicians and advanced practice providers and more than 15,000 nurses providing care and services in 22 hospitals, 300+ outpatient locations and several post-acute facilities—and Priority Health, a provider-sponsored health plan serving over 1.2 million members. Through experience and collaboration, we are reimagining a better, more equitable model of health and wellness. For more information, visit or



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