This Year, Women’s Philanthropy Group Supports Health Research At ASU

Researchers at Arizona State University are combatting disease and ill health in myriad ways—from examining microscopic stem cells in the Biodesign Institute to developing comprehensive programs of study in the College of Health Solutions.

Now, grants from Women & Philanthropy, a philanthropic program of the ASU Foundation, will undergird those efforts by distributing more than $300,000 to four initiatives that span the spectrum of health research at ASU.

This year’s grants bring Women & Philanthropy’s total contribution to ASU to more than $3 million over the past fourteen years. In addition to the health care field, previous grants funded initiatives in education development, community outreach, student scholarships, as well as applied research. 13

Women & Philanthropy grants are generated by the individual contributions of more than 250 ASU supporters who contribute to a pooled fund. Members solicit and review grant proposals every year, then vote on the most promising candidates—enabling them to align their philanthropic goals and interests with ASU’s knowledge enterprise.

Women & Philanthropy grant funds will be awarded to:

  • 3D Printing for Pediatric Heart Surgery Planning
    Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering, School of Biological and Health Systems Engineering

    According to the grant application, surgeons are using 3D printing to create an exact replica of a child’s heart, allowing them to map out an optimal surgical plan—a vitally important process when removing or reattaching blood vessels often smaller than a millimeter in diameter. The process has been shown to dramatically reduce surgical times, which increases survival rates, yet is not widely adopted because 3D printing is not reimbursed by insurance companies.

    The grant will fund a clinical trial that seeks to show that 3D printing to plan heart repairs is more than just another interesting application of the process, it’s an inevitable standard of care that will save more children’s lives than ever before.

  • Improved Pediatric Feeding & Health Outcomes
    College of Health Solutions, Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences

    Despite the prevalence of pediatric feeding and swallowing disorders—estimated to affect 5 million children—not a single interdisciplinary education program exists in the US or internationally to combat them. Women & Philanthropy will fund an effort to develop a multidisciplinary education program to train health professionals, develop graduate and undergraduate courses, and establish a parent-training program.

  • ASU Stem Cell Training and Research (STaR) Program
    Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering, School of Biological and Health Systems Engineering

    Stem cell research—at the cusp of new treatment for millions suffering from debilitating conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease and cancer—promises to revolutionize the way clinicians study and treat disease. The Women & Philanthropy grant will help establish the first comprehensive stem-cell-based training and research program in Arizona.

  • Peptide-DNA-drug Nanoparticles to inhibit metastasis of HER2+cancers
    Biodesign Institute, Center for BioEnergetics

    This grant will fund a project that will study the use of a nanoparticle to deliver a drug known to be toxic to cancer cells, paving the way for an innovative strategy to treat breast, ovarian, lung, and other cancers.

 Led by co-chair and founding member Sybil Francis, PhD—wife of ASU President Michael Crow—and co-chair Rona Kasen, the Women & Philanthropy program provides an opportunity for women to express their generosity and impact their communities by supporting ASU’s knowledge enterprise.