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Meet Dr. Kurt Schumacher

We are excited to introduce Dr. Kurt Schumacher, M.D. of the Enduring Hearts Scientific Advisory Committee!

Kurt Schumacher received his medical degree from the University of Michigan Medical School.  He then completed his pediatric residency at the University of North Carolina before returning to the University of Michigan Congenital Heart Center for pediatric cardiology fellowship as well as advanced training in both pediatric heart failure/transplantation and pediatric cardiac critical care.  He also earned a master’s degree in clinical research and statistics from the University of Michigan School of Public Health.  He is currently an Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Michigan where he is also the medical director of the pediatric heart transplant program.  His research interests are in pediatric heart transplant outcomes and heart failure in congenital heart disease patients.

Q & A with Dr. Kurt Schumacher, M.D.

Q: What made you decide to go into medicine and focusing on specifically pediatric heart transplantation?

A: In medical school, I chose pediatrics because I valued and admired the resiliency of children.  They were much more rewarding to take care of.  During residency, I initially thought I would be a general pediatric intensive care physician, but the more experience I gained, the more I realized I was most fascinated and challenged (in a good way) by pediatric cardiac intensive care patients.  When I realized I could spend my career focusing on critically ill children with heart failure, I knew that was where I belonged.

Q: What new emerging technologies are most exciting to you personally/professionally?

A: I think we are on the verge of developing sophisticated intensive care monitoring that can alert us to patients who need interventions before a regular clinician can perceive them.  I think this will lead to lives saved in children with heart failure, acute rejection, and other critical heart diseases.  I also think that donor organ extra-corporeal support and rehabilitation have the ability to dramatically expand our donor pool and save lives.

Q: What area would you like to see more research funding?

A: Of course I would say pediatric heart transplant outcomes, but the real answer is we need more research funding for all childhood illnesses.  The amount of money devoted to child health research is a tiny fraction of what is devoted to adults.  Every single pediatric disease needs more funding.

Q: On a more personal note, what was your favorite toy growing up?

A: I had the Millennium Falcon and the Ewok Village.  They got a lot of my attention.  Also my baseball glove.

Q: As a child, what were your favorite tv shows or Disney movies?

A: For movies, Star Wars and Dumbo.  I will argue that Dumbo (the one from 1941) is one of the greatest movies ever made.  I liked the Muppets and Mr. Wizard on TV.