Programs & Services

Cardiology Critical Brain Development (CCriB) Program


In collaboration with developmental pediatrics and cardiology, the Cardiology Critical Brain Development (CCriB) Program at Phoenix Children’s Hospital offers specialized developmental care for children living with complex heart problems. Michelle McDowell, CPNP, in developmental pediatrics and Stephen Pophal, MD Co-director and Division Chief of Cardiology leads the CCriB program.

Through this program, a developmental pediatrician checks your child and, if a developmental delay is found, assists with access to early intervention services to maximize your child’s future learning potential. Periodic monitoring by a developmental pediatrician and a variety of early intervention services ensure children are offered the very best chance to reach their full intellectual potential. Children with complex heart problems are at high risk for developmental delays when compared to their heart-healthy peers. Identification of developmental delays and early treatment during the critical brain development period (birth to age 5) can help prevent delays from evolving into disorders that could affect your child’s ability to learn. Phoenix Children’s CCriB Program is dedicated to helping children with complex heart conditions reach their highest potential and have every chance to succeed in life.

Developmental delays may include:

  • Late to talk or walk
  • Feeding or growing problems
  • Differences in social skills
  • Delays in problem solving/thinking skills
  • Slow to learn
  • Attention challenges

Referrals for the CCriB program come through Cardiology.

Download CCriB information in both English and Spanish

Contact Us

Phone: 602-933-CriB (2742)

Phoenix Children's Cardiologists can refer patients to the CCriB program.

To begin the process for early developmental intervention services:

For children birth to 35 months:

  • Apply online or by phone for Arizona Early Intervention Program (AzEIP)
  • Phone: (602) 635-9799. For Spanish, call (602)-635-9810
  • Inform them that your child is at risk for developmental delay due to their complex heart problems and ask to start developmental stimulation weekly.

For children 3 to 5 years old:

  • During your visits through our CCriB Program your child will be assessed for developmental needs and individually guided to the appropriate treatment services required.
  • If you have specific questions, the staff at Raising Special Kids can be reached at (800) 237-3007 to help you answer them. Otherwise, please be sure that your child has been scheduled for an initial CCriB appointment to follow any developmental needs after discharge.

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