Get to Know Adriana Dobrzycka, Country Director

Adriana and her family on vacation in Lebanon


What does a typical day at work look like?

My days are about continually learning how we can best support our partners and medical volunteers to create change in lives of so many children – it’s incredibly energizing!
Here are some other things I do on a typical day:
Touch base with staff in India and Vietnam, via phone, email, text or chat
Plan trainings at partner sites with our fantastic medical volunteer teams
Get updates on progress from partner sites
Dream big, while brainstorming and visioning with the team about new opportunities to grow our efforts

Tell us a little about your background and why it led you to Children’s HeartLink.

My background is in women rights advocacy, public health and international development. The work we do at Children’s HeartLink–building local health systems capacity to ensure that all children have access to care–is how I connect my desire to contribute to creating lasting solutions. Working here brings together my interest in global health, and a desire to help communities thrive while learning continually from the amazing partners, volunteers and communities we work with.

What motivates you?

I am driven by social justice to support and facilitate change needed as defined by the communities we work with and a sense of responsibility to contribute to making the world a better place.
As a parent, I am moved and inspired by the parents I meet and the clinicians who we work with who are tireless advocates for their little patients and do so much with limited resources. The smiles of the children we meet, as soon as they feel better after they receive treatment, are priceless.

What is the most rewarding part of your job? The most challenging?

Most rewarding:
Connecting with people and helping them connect to opportunities
Seeing partners use the training to do better than they did beforehand
Seeing children thrive
Most challenging: I was never around hospitals growing up so it was a first when I visited an intensive care unit in India four years ago. As a parent myself, it was hard to see babies fight to recover and heal from surgery, but these babies are so strong and the teams that take care of them are so committed and invested in ensuring that the children get better.

What are the most important traits for your job?

Change is not easy and it takes time and patience.
Being a cheerleader for our partners, volunteers and the programs we implement!
It’s important to be a good problem-solver and communicator.
A sense of adventure and a sense of humor

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I enjoy being outdoors, and Minneapolis and Minnesota have so much to offer. I like to:
Discover local parks and nature with family
Go geocaching with family
Being involved in my neighborhood
Trying new foods!

What’s something people are surprised to learn about you?

I just joined my neighborhood council. I look forward to contributing and supporting my community!

Tell us about your family.

My husband is from Beirut, Lebanon, and we met in grad school in Pittsburgh though we both went to undergrad institutions in Minnesota. I have two young girls (2 and 6). We love the outdoors and spend as much time as possible in the woods and listening to birds.

Adriana leads our programs in India and Vietnam. Earlier in her career she worked for organizations focused on human rights, cultural competency and engaging diverse communities. Adriana has a Polish father and an Italian mother and was raised in Warsaw and Florence. She has master’s degrees in international development and public health from the University of Pittsburgh.