Gail D Pearson M.D., Sc.D.
Gail Pearson, M.D., Sc.D., a pediatric cardiologist, is an associate director of the Division of Cardiovascular Sciences and the director of the Adult and Pediatric Cardiac Research Program at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
Dr. Pearson joined the NHLBI in 1997 to oversee and develop the NHLBI’s clinical pediatric cardiovascular research programs. Since 2000, Dr. Pearson has occupied several leadership positions within the Institute.
The first program Dr. Pearson developed was the Pediatric Heart Network (PHN), established by the NHLBI in 2001. The PHN provides a sustainable infrastructure for multicenter clinical studies to help improve the evidence base for care of children and young adults with congenital heart disease. Investigators at academic centers in the United States and Canada collaborate on studies ranging from a trial comparing two surgical strategies for newborns with complex heart disease to an observational study following adolescents with single ventricle physiology into young adulthood. The NHLBI’s Children and Clinical Studies Campaign, which provides accessible information for families considering participation in any kind of pediatric research, had its origins in the PHN.
In 2009, two research efforts developed by Dr. Pearson joined the PHN to make up the Bench to Bassinet Program: the Cardiovascular Development Consortium, focused on fundamental understanding of the molecular underpinnings of congenital heart disease; and the Pediatric Cardiac Genomics Consortium, collaborating to understand genetic causes of congenital heart disease and its outcomes.
Dr. Pearson received her Doctor of Medicine degree at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, and a Doctor of Science degree in health policy at the Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health. Dr. Pearson completed her pediatric residency and pediatric cardiology fellowship at the Children's National Medical Center in Washington, D.C., where she continues to teach and provide care for children with congenital heart disease on a part-time basis.
She is Board Certified in Pediatric Cardiology and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American College of Cardiology, and the American Heart Association. In 2009, she received the Distinguished Achievement Award from the Cardiovascular Disease in the Young Council of the AHA.
Areas of expertise: pediatric cardiology and cardiovascular development, with a particular interest in clinical and translational research in pediatric cardiovascular disease.
Pearson In the News
A unique educational video game developed by New England Research Institutes (NERI) was officially launched this week on the website of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), part of the National Institutes of Health. Called “The Paper Kingdom,” the game is aimed at kids ages 8-14 and helps dispel myths and misconceptions about medical clinical trials.
NHLBI-supported researchers at the University of Miami found that risk factors identified at diagnosis help predict outcomes for children with a complex heart condition called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM). “Based on our experience with adults, we do not think of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy as a cause for heart transplant. Yet for a select group of high-risk children with HCM, a heart transplant is key for survival,” said principal investigator Steven E. Lipshultz, M.D.