Our Top Five Stories from 2018

As we move into a milestone year, our 50th year as an organization, we are growing and expanding to save more children with heart disease. Thanks to the commitment and help of our friends and supporters, 2018 was another successful year.

These are our top stories from 2018:

1. Four New Partnerships in Brazil, Malaysia, India and China

Four more hospitals became our partners in 2018, for a total of 16 hospitals we currently support. Multi-year partnerships with medical volunteer teams from the US, England and Canada will help train and mentor local teams to be more equipped to care for children with heart disease.

  • G. Kuppusamy Naidu Memorial Hospital in India and mentoring partner Mayo Clinic from Rochester, Minnesota, will focus on improving cardiac care for children in Coimbatore in the western state of Tamil Nadu. Last year this hospital treated over 2,800 children with heart disease, yet there are many children in this heavily populated region who don’t receive the care they need.
  • Our newest partner hospital in Brazil, Instituto do Coração (InCor), is one of the leading heart centers in Latin America and the leading institute for clinical research and teaching in Brazil. Collaboration between Children’s HeartLink and training partner The Hospital for Sick Children from Toronto, Canada, will help InCor improve outcomes for patients and support advances in  leadership, governance and interdepartmental communication.
  • Qingdao Women and Children’s Hospital has one of the largest heart centers in China. It serves over 16,000 children annually in a heavily populated region of 30 million along the eastern  coastline of China. Their training partner, the Alder Hey medical team from Liverpool, England, will help increase the number of patients served and expand the complexity of cases treated.
  • Serdang Hospital, our newest partner in Malaysia, provides affordable and quality treatment for heart patients with lower incomes. In 2018, a medical team from Birmingham Children’s Hospital began partnering at Serdang. During their first full-team training visit, 208 clinicians received a total of 2,000 training hours.

2. Children’s HeartLink Participates in UN General Assembly

Children’s HeartLink President Jackie Boucher was a panelist at a meeting hosted by the American Heart Association during the 73rd session of the General Assembly of the United Nations. The General Assembly convened in New York from September 18-28, 2018. This side event, Time to Disrupt the Health Care System: Novel Solutions for Quality Care in the NCD Era, preceded a high-level meeting dedicated to the prevention and control of noncommunicable diseases that includes pediatric heart disease. Participating on the panel and attending a high-level meeting provided Children’s HeartLink an opportunity to raise awareness about congenital heart disease and our work in this field, and to engage with other global experts, patients and family leaders.

3. Mary McMahon Busch Nurse Training Fund

Nurses are the closest to the patients during the most critical moments, day and night, and they play a vital role in the patient’s care. Created in May 2018, the Mary McMahon Busch Nurse Training Fund is dedicated to educating, training and empowering nurses in pediatric cardiac care at Children’s HeartLink partner hospitals. This fund was established in memory of our treasured board member Mary McMahon Busch, who was a cardiac nurse by training.  She was a passionate supporter of our work and an advocate for saving the lives of children with heart disease in underserved parts of the world.

4. Nurse Training Programs

We led and supported nursing education programs in India, Brazil and Malaysia.

  • The intensive 10-day Nurse Residency Program in India was developed in conjunction with our volunteers and is based in our Center of Excellence Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences in Kochi. The program is designed to help cardiac nurses develop proactive practices of care for their patients.
  • We supported the first postgraduate nursing course in pediatric care in Brazil. The 18-month program was developed by nursing leaders at Hospital da Criança e Maternidade in São José do Rio Preto.
  • We piloted Advanced Practice Provider nursing curriculum in pediatric cardiac care for nurses at Insitut Jantung Negara in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

5. We Helped Over 135,000 Children Last Year

Last year Children’s HeartLink served over 135,000 children with heart disease. This is the first time we’ve surpassed this 100,000 threshold! We trained over 1,800 local heart health providers, more than double the number from the previous year. We were able to achieve this through the collective efforts of many – medical volunteers, partner hospitals, board members, staff, corporate funders and individual donors. Now we are making strategic investments so we can reach one million more children with heart disease in the next 10 years. Read our 2018 Annual Report to learn more.