Congratulations to Institut Jantung Negara, Our Newest Center of Excellence

by Faith Adams, Communications Director

Our partner hospital Institut Jantung Negara (IJN), in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, has achieved the status of Children’s HeartLink Center of Excellence, a major achievement and the ultimate goal for all of our partner hospitals. Our Centers of Excellence consistently deliver high-quality complex care to children with heart disease and commit to serving as a training partner for others in the region, a model that is sometimes called “train the trainer.”

The beauty of this approach is that it is the fastest way to create access to high-quality heart care for children in need.

IJN is our fourth partner hospital to be named a Children’s HeartLink Center of Excellence. We also have two Centers of Excellence in India and one in China.

“The team from IJN expressed their deep appreciation and admiration for the medical volunteer team from Birmingham Children’s Hospital that provided training and mentoring over the 8 years of their partnership,” says Jackie Boucher, MS, Children’s HeartLink President. “These long-term partnerships are the cornerstone of our work, and we are extremely grateful for the time and expertise these training partners provide.”

President Jackie Boucher presents a Center of Excellence award to IJN CEO Dr. Mohad Azhari Yakub, as Bistra Zheleva and Dr. Hasri Samion look on.

Children’s HeartLink supported targeted investments in improved nursing care, increased surgical capabilities and the creation of a specialized pediatric heart program over the duration of the partnership. These investments and efforts paid off, resulting in the IJN team’s ability to perform increasingly complex surgeries while at the same time reducing morbidity and mortality.

“Our remarkable achievements would not have been possible without the guidance of Children’s HeartLink,” says Dr. Sivakumar from IJN.

Country Director Andreas Tsakistos and Vice President for International Programs Bistra Zheleva logged many miles between Minnesota and Malaysia over the past 8 years. “No matter how tired I am when I return home from a long, strenuous trip, I get a great deal of satisfaction knowing that I am helping to facilitate this remarkable work,” says Andreas. “It’s been a privilege to work with these two talented teams, one from the UK and the other from Malaysia, and to see how much the care at IJN has advanced thanks to this partnership.”