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Healthy Hearts & Minds Program

The Pediatric Healthy Hearts and Minds (H2M) Program is devoted to identifying and addressing developmental and neurologic problems in children born with complex heart defects. Early diagnosis and treatment are key to managing the issues these kids can face, which include problems with behavior, social interaction, motor skills, feeding, school performance, and speech and language. We're here to help your child and family from day one.

The H2M team includes specialists with expertise in congenital heart disease, such as pediatric cardiologists, neonatologists, nurses, neuropsychologists, dietitians and social workers. Our mission is to ensure a healthy and productive life for all our patients.

UCSF experts are also leaders in research into the neurodevelopmental effects of congenital heart disease, and our patients will be among the first to benefit from new findings.

Our services

  • Screening for developmental abnormalities
  • Nutritional counseling
  • Social work support, including help finding programs and resources in your community
  • Neuropsychological evaluations, diagnosis and interventions

Our services supplement, but don't replace, care from your child's pediatrician and cardiologist.

Scheduled screenings

Children in our program have developmental screenings from the age of 6 months through adolescence.

You can expect these baseline evaluations:

  • 6 months: Developmental screening by the UCSF ICN Follow-Up Program and evaluation by specialists in cardiology, nutrition and social work
  • 18 months: Developmental screening by the UCSF ICN Follow-up Program, with nutrition and social work services as needed
  • 2 ½ years: Developmental screening by the UCSF ICN Follow-Up Program, with nutrition and social work services as needed
  • 4 to 5 years: Developmental and school readiness screening by a neuropsychologist, including assessment of cognitive skills, attention, learning and memory
  • 10 to 12 years: Developmental and cognitive screening by a neuropsychologist

Based on our evaluations, we work with you to come up with a plan for dealing with any developmental concerns. Typically, we communicate with the school and any other places your child may be getting help as well as refer you to nonprofit regional centers that provide or coordinate services for people with developmental disabilities. For kids who need additional help, we’ll continue to see them on visits between the baseline evaluations.

Support our program

To help the pediatric Healthy Hearts and Minds Program expand its services and provide crucial care to the families who need it most, please consider making a gift in support of Healthy Hearts & Minds.

Our locations (1)

    Awards & recognition

    • Best in Northern California for cardiology & heart surgery

    • One of the nation's best in neurology & neurosurgery

    • Ranked among the nation's best in 10 specialties

    Plan your visit

    Preparing for your appointment

    What to Bring

    • Photo I.D.
    • Health insurance card
    • Insurance authorization, if required
    • Doctor's referral, if required
    • Recent test results related to your child's condition
    • List of medications, including dosages, plus any your child is allergic to
    • List of questions you may have
    • Device or paper for taking notes

    For visitors

    Before you head to the hospital, check out our guidelines for visitors and caregivers.


    Your Stay

    We offer valuable information to help you plan for your child's upcoming hospital stay. Find out about food services, family accommodations and more.

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    Your Child's Care Team

    Our doctors, nurses, child life specialists and other providers have special training to care for children. Meet your child's care team.

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    Interpreter Services & Communication Assistance

    Interpreter services in many languages and TDDs are available for families that need help communicating with care teams. Here's how to access them.

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    Support services

    Child Life Services

    Activity rooms, pet therapy and more to help kids feel at home.

    Child Life

    Certified child life specialists ease the stress and anxiety of childhood illness through therapeutic play, schooling and family-focused support.

    Family Amenities

    Family-friendly amenities help you relax and take care of yourself while staying close to your child. We offer lounges, kitchens, showers, breastfeeding rooms and more.


    Social Services

    Social workers ease the effect of illness, injury and hospitalization on your family with counseling and assistance to help you navigate the challenges.


    Activity Rooms

    Activity rooms offer a relaxed environment for children of all ages. Features include a playroom, digital arts studio and teen lounge. Find out more.


    Art Therapy

    Art therapy helps kids and families express themselves, making it easier to cope with pediatric health issues. Group and bedside services are available.


    Music Therapy Program

    Board-certified music therapists help kids cope with illness and the feelings that come with it. Find out about group activities and bedside therapy.


    School Program

    Our schoolroom services and individual learning programs help children hospitalized at UCSF continue their education and get ready to return to school.


    School Re-Entry Program

    We help kids return to school after hospitalization by educating staff and students about their needs and recommending needed accommodations. Read more.


    Individual Playtime & Instruction

    If your child can't be around other kids for medical reasons, you can sign up for private sessions in our activity and school rooms. Find out how.


    Interpreter Services & Communication Assistance

    Interpreter services in many languages and TDDs are available for families that need help communicating with care teams. Here's how to access them.

    Family Resource Center

    We help families cope with the challenges of childhood illness and hospitalization in a relaxing environment where parents can get a much-needed break.


    Parent Support Program

    Weekly activities, including knitting, scrapbooking, chair massage and more, help family caregivers get a much-needed break. Find out more.


    Patient Relations

    Patient relations reps and nursing supervisors are here to answer questions and address concerns. Learn about your rights, how to reach us and more.


    Spiritual Care

    Chaplains help UCSF patients, families and staff cope with the spiritual and emotional challenges of childhood illness. Learn more.


    International Services

    If you're coming to UCSF from outside the U.S., we coordinate your child's appointments and provide other helpful services. Here's how to get started.

    Our research initiatives

    Stress-free visits

    Accommodations. Admissions. Procedure prep. Get the info you need for smoother hospital stays.

    Prepare for your child's stay