We are proud to announce that Barbara Elias, Texas Children’s lead Ventricular Assist Device (VAD) Coordinator in Congenital Heart Surgery, has been selected as the recipient of the 2022 American Society for Artificial Internal Organs (ASAIO) VAD Coordinator Leadership Award.
“As a nurse – coordinator and VAD liaison for over 25 years, I am honored to be nominated for and chosen to receive this prestigious award – not only professionally, but personally,” Elias noted of her achievement. “Mechanical Circulatory Support (MCS) is a dynamic field with continuous change in the paradigm shift in the acceptance of device support, patient preparation, and quality of life for all recipients.”
This prestigious award, granted annually by the ASAIO, to the nation’s top VAD Coordinator in both the adult and pediatric fields, recognizes the tremendous leadership and dedication Elias has displayed throughout her years as a VAD coordinator. As the first person from Texas Children’s to be selected, Elias is looking forward to accepting the award in person at the ASAIO 67th Annual Conference in Chicago in June.
“This award is very well deserved,” said her colleague Dr. Iki Adachi, Surgical Director of Heart Failure and Transplant and Director of the VAD Program. “Barb goes above and beyond for our patients and families and for the nurses in the Heart Center. Our VAD Program is special because our coordinator is so special.”
After completing her BSN from Kent State University, Elias began her career as an assistant nurse manager before joining Thoracic Surgery as a nurse clinician at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation in Cleveland, Ohio. From there, she helped found Cleveland Clinic Florida before returning three years later to the Cleveland Clinic Foundation. In 2004, Elias furthered her career by moving to Texas to work as a transplant coordinator combined with VAD and circulatory support at Houston Methodist Hospital then joined Texas Children’s Congenital Heart Surgery Division in 2014 as the hospital’s first VAD coordinator.
As VAD coordinator, Elias is responsible for supporting all facets of Texas Children’s VAD Program, including start up, training and development, and VAD medical transport. During her time at Texas Children’s, she has been an integral part of the team’s success and instrumental in helping grow the VAD Program.
“Barb’s dedication to our patients and families always inspires me,” shared Dr. Chris Caldarone, Chief of Congenital Heart Surgery. “We are incredibly fortunate to have her as part of the Texas Children’s Heart Center.”