Texas Children’s Cardiac Team Becomes Children’s HeartLink Medical Volunteers

Published on September 27, 2022

The largest children’s hospital in the United States and a global leader in pediatric cardiology and heart surgery, Texas Children’s Hospital, joins our esteemed list of medical volunteer teams! Using its charity experience mentoring heart centers worldwide, Texas Children’s will work with Children’s HeartLink on improving cardiac care in Brazil.
Children's HeartLink staff visiting medical volunteer team at Texas Children's Hospital
Children’s HeartLink’s Jackie Boucher and Andreas Tsakistos (in the center) are with Children’s HeartLink medical volunteers Dr. Patricia Bastero and Dr. Pablo Motta at Texas Children’s


“I was so happy when Children’s HeartLink contacted us, and we are all very excited about this partnership,” says Dr. Patricia Bastero, Medical Director of the Heart Center International Program at Texas Children’s Hospital. “We’ve already formed a team, it’s roughly 10-12 people who have different backgrounds and subspecialties – in cardiology, cardiac intensive care, CHD anesthesia, CHD surgery, perfusion and nursing.”

Children’s HeartLink works with 12 medical volunteer teams from some of the top teaching and research institutions in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. The multi-year partnerships are focused on strengthening diagnostic and treatment capacity and increasing pediatric cardiac care in underserved regions of Brazil, China, India, Malaysia and Vietnam.

“Adding Texas Children’s to our portfolio of medical volunteer teams speaks volumes to the great work already being done in low- and middle-income countries,” says Jackie Boucher, Children’s HeartLink president. “This team is experienced in international collaborations based on training, mentoring and maintaining long-term relationships. Building Centers of Excellence that train others in the region is key to our Children’s HeartLink sustainable model. We’re thrilled to collaborate with Texas Children’s.”


Jackie Boucher and Andreas Tsakistos taking a tour at Texas Children’s

The team from Texas Children’s will include clinicians with 25 years of experience as well as junior professionals. “We decided to put some junior professionals in the group because they are very passionate and involved in global health. We give them the opportunity to be in this international collaboration first-hand,” says Dr. Bastero.

Dr. Bastero’s explained her team is eager to help their peers in Brazil build a sustainable pediatric cardiac program as they did in other countries. Since 2011, the Texas Children’s Heart Center has been helping improve cardiac care across the world including in Mexico and Malawi.

“We are looking forward to building a truly sustainable program and helping the hospital become a reference center in their nation. We want to put a little bit of ourselves into that growth and become colleagues, mentors and friends. That’s part of the beauty of this kind of collaboration. It is long-lasting thanks to the strong ties we build,” says Dr. Bastero.

Keys to proper heart care in underserved regions 

Dr. Bastero names essential steps to successful pediatric cardiac care in low- and middle-income countries.

“I think key factors are early diagnosis, adequate perinatal care, and strong and reliable pathways to refer children with cardiac conditions to a place with high-quality care that also has proper follow-ups. Two other key factors are dedication and mentorship. Organizations like Children’s HeartLink can help with all of this, as they have all the essential knowledge in the field and the connections to build sustainable cardiac programs where they are most needed.”

Addressing the heart disease need for children in Brazil

Congenital heart disease in Brazil is some of the most frequent with incredibly high monthly mortality rates during the first year of life. It’s also the second leading cause of death during the first 30 days of life. With a gradual improvement in diagnosis and treatment, there is still large diversity in care in different regions of Brazil and a great need for trained professionals.

Currently, Children’s HeartLink is partnering with three hospitals in Brazil located in the most populated northeast and southeast regions where the need for cardiac heart surgery is high.

Read more about our work in Brazil.

Our Medical Volunteer Teams

Our medical volunteer teams come from leading research and teaching institutions around the world.


About Children’s HeartLink

Children’s HeartLink saves children’s lives by transforming pediatric heart care in underserved parts of the year. The global nonprofit organization (NGO), partners medical volunteers from top teaching and research institutions with doctors, nurses and health care professionals in Brazil, China, India, Malaysia and Vietnam to develop or improve pediatric cardiac care programs. Since 1969, we have reached more than 1.5 million children.

About Texas Children’s 

Children's HeartLink new medical volunteer team is from Texas Children's Hospital
Texas Children’s Hospital, the largest children’s hospital in the USA

Texas Children’s Hospital, a not-for-profit health care organization, is committed to creating a healthier future for children and women throughout the global community by leading in patient care, education and research. Consistently ranked as the best children’s hospital in Texas, and among the top in the nation, Texas Children’s has garnered widespread recognition for its expertise and breakthroughs in pediatric and women’s health. The hospital includes the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute; the Feigin Tower for pediatric research; Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women, a comprehensive obstetrics/gynecology facility focusing on high-risk births; Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus, a community hospital in suburban West Houston; and Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands, the first hospital devoted to children’s care for communities north of Houston. The organization also created Texas Children’s HealthPlan, the nation’s first HMO for children; Texas Children’s Pediatric, the largest pediatric primary care network in the country with offices in Houston and Austin; Texas Children’s Urgent Care clinics that specialize in after-hours care tailored specifically for children; and a global health program that’s channeling care to children and women all over the world. Texas Children’s Hospital is affiliated with Baylor College of Medicine. For more information, go to www.texaschildrens.org. Get the latest news by visiting the online newsroom and Twitter at twitter.com/texaschildrens.