LITTLE ROCK, AR. (Oct. 17, 2019) -- Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy (PPMD), a nonprofit organization leading the fight to end Duchenne muscular dystrophy (Duchenne), named Arkansas Children's Hospital as the 28th Certified Duchenne Care Center (CDCC). This expanding program of elite centers, created in 2014 as part of PPMD's Certified Duchenne Care Center Program, reviews and recognizes clinics nationwide for their outstanding neuromuscular programs. Arkansas Children's is the only pediatric health system in Arkansas, and Arkansas Children's Hospital in Little Rock serves families from Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Northern Texas. Many Duchenne families drive as far as four to six hours to see this team. Dr. Aravindhan Veerapandiyan, an assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) and director of the comprehensive neuromuscular program at Arkansas Children's Hospital, began with the base of providers set by Dr. Vikki Stefans, an associate professor of pediatrics at UAMS in 1987 to build a comprehensive multidisciplinary team. Currently, Arkansas Children's Hospital is a site for several clinical trials, offering patients the opportunity to receive care and to participate in groundbreaking research.

Kathi Kinnett, MSN, APRN, PPMD's Senior Vice President of Clinical Care and director of PPMD's Certified Duchenne Care Center (CDCC) Program praised both Dr. Veerapandiyan and his team. "Dr. Veerapandiyan's expertise, enthusiasm, and compassion for the Duchenne families seen at Arkansas Children's is infectious. Building off the work of Dr. Stefans, he has amassed an amazing group of providers who offer not only a complete array of recommended care and services to both patients and families, but opportunities to participate in Duchenne clinical trials. This is no small undertaking. We are thrilled that the Arkansas Children's Hospital is part of our growing CDCC network and that local Duchenne families can benefit from the exceptional care they provide."

Dr. Veerapandiyan appreciates PPMD's recognition of the clinic he leads: "The Comprehensive Neuromuscular Program at Arkansas Children's is dedicated to helping children and adolescents with neuromuscular disorders, live better, fuller lives. We offer a robust clinical and state of the art research program that features comprehensive care to patients with Duchenne muscular dystrophy and their families. Providing a standardized, transparent, and evidence based care to people with this devastating condition is critical to improve their quality of life. We are extremely honored to be recognized by PPMD. Our neuromuscular program includes a group of experts from rehabilitation, nursing, care coordination, pulmonology, cardiology, endocrinology, physical therapy, neuropsychology, gastroenterology, nutrition therapy, social services, and orthopedics. I am exceptionally thankful to my colleagues for this achievement."

PPMD's Certified Duchenne Care Center Program supports standardized, comprehensive care and services for all people living with Duchenne. Certification means centers maintain the highest standards in clinical and sub-specialty services, rapidly apply new evidence-based knowledge, minimize heterogeneity in clinical research outcomes, and comply with standards in clinical care that were established by the CDC Care Considerations. As part of its ongoing mission to end Duchenne, PPMD continues to insist that all people with Duchenne receive comprehensive care.

Kinnett says that since launching the program in 2014, PPMD receives weekly inquiries from centers, both in the US and abroad, interested in applying for certification. "Families in our community turn to PPMD to help identify the centers in the country providing the best in comprehensive Duchenne care and services. Clinics and clinicians are realizing the value of the Certified Duchenne Care Center Program and therefore strive to be the best facility they can be for Duchenne patients and families. Industry, also, is recognizing the value of including patients in their studies, receiving standardized Duchenne care and, thus, strengthening the outcome measures in their clinical trials. As the importance of a set of standards and guidelines in clinical care are recognized globally, PPMD looks forward to expanding this program internationally in the New Year by partnering with other patient advocacy groups. We also look forward to more certifications in the U.S. in 2019."

To learn more about PPMD's Certified Duchenne Care Center Program, visit PPMD's websiteClick here to learn more about the history of PPMD's Certified Duchenne Care Center Program and to access PPMD's first published article on the program.

About Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy

Duchenne is a fatal genetic disorder that slowly robs people of their muscle strength. Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy (PPMD) is the largest most comprehensive nonprofit organization in the United States focused on finding a cure for Duchenne—our mission is to end Duchenne.

We demand optimal care standards and strive to ensure every family has access to expert healthcare providers, cutting edge treatments, and a community of support. We invest deeply in treatments for this generation of Duchenne patients and in research that will benefit future generations. Our advocacy efforts have secured hundreds of millions of dollars in funding and won two FDA approvals.

Everything we do—and everything we have done since our founding in 1994—helps those with Duchenne live longer, stronger lives. We will not rest until we end Duchenne for every single person affected by the disease. Join our fight against Duchenne at and follow PPMD on FacebookTwitter, and YouTube.

SOURCE: Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy | Related Links

About Arkansas Children’s

Arkansas Children's, Inc. is the only healthcare system in the state solely dedicated to caring for Arkansas' 710,000 children, giving the organization a unique ability to shape the landscape of pediatric care in Arkansas and transform the health of children throughout the region. The private, non-profit organization includes two pediatric hospitals, a pediatric research institute and USDA nutrition center, a philanthropic foundation, a nursery alliance, statewide clinics, and many education and outreach programs.

Arkansas Children’s Hospital (ACH) is a 336-bed, Magnet-recognized facility in Little Rock operating the state’s only Level I pediatric trauma center; the state's only burn center; the state's only Level IV neonatal intensive care unit; the state's only pediatric intensive care unit; the state’s only pediatric surgery program with Level 1 verification from the American College of Surgeons; and the state's only nationally recognized pediatric transport program. Additionally, ACH is nationally ranked by U.S. News & World Report in five pediatric subspecialties (2019-2020): Cardiology & Heart Surgery, Nephrology, Neurology & Neurosurgery, Orthopedics and Pulmonology. Arkansas Children’s Northwest (ACNW), the first and only pediatric hospital in the Northwest Arkansas region, opened in Springdale in early 2018. ACNW operates a 24-bed inpatient unit; a surgical unit with five operating rooms; outpatient clinics offering over 20 subspecialties; diagnostic services; imaging capabilities; occupational therapy services; and Northwest Arkansas' only pediatric emergency department, equipped with 30 exam rooms. Generous philanthropic and volunteer engagement has sustained Arkansas Children's since it began as an orphanage in 1912, and today ensures the system can fundamentally transform the health of children in Arkansas and beyond. To learn more, visit