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UW Health SMPH
American Family Children's Hospital

4th Annual Congenital Heart Defects (CHD) Symposium


Attendance is free but pre-registration is required. Register online at (Select the Events link from the top navigation.) Questions? Contact Mended Little Hearts parent coordinator Amy Basken at (608) 370-3739 or

American Family Children's Hospital invites you to join us for a free learning and networking opportunity for parents and caregivers of children with congenital heart defects (CHD). The symposium includes presentations by experts from the Pediatric Cardiology program. You can also meet, share your experiences and hear stories from parents from the Mended Little Hearts support group.


Child care will be provided at no cost. Overnight accommodations available at the Hyatt Place in downtown Madison for a rate of $99 (based on availability).


Symposium Events


Meet-n-Greet Ice Cream Social

Date: Friday, July 16 from 6:30-8pm

Location: American Family Children's Hospital


New Hope For Families Symposium

Date: Saturday, July 17 from 8am-4:30pm

Location: Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center


  • 8-8:45am: Registration and networking
  • 8:45am-noon: Your Child's Medical Care
    • New Hope for Families: New Trends in Treating CHD, Carter Ralphe, MD, Chief of Pediatric Cardiology, American Family Children's Hospital
    • Catheterizations: Imagining and Beyond, John Hokanson, MD, Pediatric Cardiologist, American Family Children's Hospital
    • Neurocognitive Development of Children with CHD, Peter Farrazzano, MD, American Family Children’s Hospital
    • Panel discussion with audience questions
  • Noon-1:30pm: Lunch
  • 1:30-4:30pm: Your Child's Quality of Life
    •  Moving On: Transitioning from the Pediatric to the Adult Care Team, Darcy Pfiel, APNP, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, and Craig Becker, MSSW, LCSW, Senior Clinical Social Worker, UW Hospital and Clinics
    • Congenital Defects: A Life-Long Disease, Amy Verstappen, CEO, Adult Congenital Heart Association 
    • Health Care Reform: What it Means for Families, Jessica Gilkison, JD, Patient Advocate, UW Center for Patient Partnerships
    • Advocating for Your Child: A Parent's Point of View, Jody Lemacks, JD, National Program Coordinator, Mended Little Hearts
    • Communication With the Schools, Rachel Gallagher, RN, MSN, APNP, School Nurse Consultant, Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction
    • Sending Your Child to School, Deb Gerrits, mother of a child with a congenital heart defect, Mended Little Hearts
    • Living With a Child With Congenital Heart Disease: An Introduction to Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, Karen Allaire, RN, MS, CHTP, RN, UW Health Integrative Medicine, UW Hospital and Clinics