Children's Health

Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital participates in national grant to improve preparedness in disaster planning

October 12, 2021

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., Oct. 12, 2021 – Spectrum Health Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital has joined a national initiative to improve pediatric preparedness for future disasters and global health events similar to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) recently awarded more than $48 million to a collaboration of children’s hospitals across the U.S. to establish a Regional Pediatric Pandemic Network that will support the planning and preparation of child health care facilities to respond to global health threats, including pandemics, as well as help support communities in everyday pediatric readiness.

Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital is the only hospital in West Michigan participating in this project.

Matthew Denenberg, MD, vice president of medical affairs at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital, is leading the effort in West Michigan and is working in partnership with other children’s hospitals across the country.

To help with the project, Denenberg partnered with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and children’s hospital leaders across Michigan to create a statewide pediatric dashboard to be tested in other states. The dashboard tracks the number of patients, number of beds available, number of ICU beds and other important information that can be extremely helpful during a disaster or global health event.

“One thing we have learned throughout this pandemic is the need for transparency and information sharing across the board,” Dr. Denenberg said. “This dashboard will assist with collaboration by bringing pediatric hospitals together from across the state of Michigan and beyond in times of crisis.”

Dr. Denenberg also will lead efforts to further develop, simulate and deploy a National EMResource Pediatric Dashboard in collaboration with the pediatric specific disaster response simulation events. He will collaborate across five hub hospitals in the Center for Pediatric Everyday Readiness-Regional Pediatric Pandemic Network, along with appropriate state entities.

“The goal of this project is to enhance situational awareness regarding the availability of pediatric assets such as beds across regions and the nation for pediatric pandemic surveillance and response,” Denenberg added.

This effort will build upon the work supported by the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) in 2019 to establish the Eastern Great Lakes Pediatric Consortium for Disaster Response, in which Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital is also an active member.

Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital is a 242-bed national referral center and teaching hospital, providing comprehensive clinical care to the children of West Michigan and beyond. It offers advanced pediatric specialty care with more than 300 pediatric physicians who practice in 70 pediatric specialties and programs. The hospital also provides care close to home in over 50 regional clinics and shares its expertise through Partners in Children’s Health: a collaboration with more than 30 hospitals throughout Michigan. Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital has been recognized as one of nation’ best children’s hospitals by US News and World Report for 10 years in a row.


People are at the heart of everything we do, and the inspiration for our long and continuing legacy of strong community partnerships, philanthropy and transparency. Our award-winning team improves health, inspires hope and saves lives across 13 counties in West Michigan. We bring together 11 hospitals—including Spectrum Health Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital, with expert care from 350+ pediatric specialists in 70+ specialties and programs—three rehabilitation and nursing centers, 120 outpatient sites and telehealth services. We are proud to work with 4,000 physicians and advanced practice providers, including Spectrum Health Medical Group, one of the largest and most comprehensive multispecialty physician groups in West Michigan.

Tim Breed
Media Relations
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