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“You can take a child who is not able to go to school or who is very limited, and by treating them appropriately, you can get them active again and back into a typical life.”
- Dr. Dunbar Ivy
As much as one might expect one of the world’s leading experts in pediatric pulmonary hypertension (PH) to tell an exciting story about his rise to renown, it’s just not in the nature of Dunbar Ivy, MD, to be that dramatic.
“I came out here to Colorado, loved the mountains, loved my boss,” he says of starting his career. “Studying pulmonary hypertension just seemed interesting.”
This understatement fits Dr. Ivy, whose steady disposition can disarm parents who may be worried that their child’s vital organs seem to be failing them; after all, it wasn’t until the 1990s that most children with PH survived.
That is, in part, thanks to Steven Abman, MD, and John Kinsella, MD, physicians at Children’s Hospital Colorado who in 1991 successfully pioneered the use of nitric oxide to treat newborns with PH.
Dr. Ivy trained under Dr. Abman, and is now part of a select group of Children’s Colorado PH experts on the forefront of clinical trials, research and treatment.
Their prominence in pulmonary hypertension was validated in 2015, when Children’s Colorado became one of the first three pediatric hospitals in the country to receive accreditation as a PH Care Center from the Pulmonary Hypertension Association (two more hospitals have since been accredited as of this printing).
The rigorous evaluation considers patient volumes, available therapies, number of clinical trials and research, among many other factors. “This accreditation is a mark of excellence,” Dr. Ivy says.
But the accreditation is more than an award. It’s a beacon for parents of children with PH, who may not know where to go for hope for survival.
While leading the accreditation will certainly be a career highlight for Dr. Ivy, 25-plus years ago his motivation for studying a complicated, rare disease was much simpler: “I wanted to make a difference,” he says. “There was this particular disease without a cure, and I wanted to help those patients.”
Learn more about our pediatric Pulmonary Hypertension Program.