Published April 1, 2022
Medical volunteers are at the heart of the Children’s HeartLink mission. We can’t do our work without them! During National Volunteer Month, we recognize those who have contributed to 700 hours of volunteerism in one year!
Our medical volunteers come from 15 top teaching and research institutions. Currently, they train and mentor Children’s HeartLink partner hospitals in Brazil, China, India, Malaysia and Vietnam. In 2021, over 122,000 children with heart disease were served!
“What inspires me most about our medical volunteers is their depth and breadth of knowledge and their depth and breadth of caring. They know and do so much. Each volunteer cares deeply about the impact of the care they deliver and the impact they can have on the lives of children affected by heart disease,” said Jackie Boucher, Children’s HeartLink president.
“The skills and commitment of our medical volunteers inspire us every day to work harder to reach more children,” says Children’s HeartLink vice president of programs and evaluation Anne Betzner.
Thank you to our medical volunteer teams from:
- Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, Liverpool, England
- Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences, Kochi, India
- Birmingham Children’s Hospital, Birmingham, England
- Boston Children’s Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts
- Children’s Hospital of Georgia, Augusta, Georgia
- Children’s Mercy Hospital, Kansas City, Missouri
- Children’s Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota
- Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, Ohio
- The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Canada
- Institut Jantung Negara, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
- Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota
- Seattle Children’s Hospital, Seattle, Washington
- University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, California
- University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital, Minneapolis, Minnesota
- West China Hospital, Chengdu, China
Transforming heart care worldwide
Some of our medical volunteers have volunteered with Children’s HeartLink for 10, 15 and 20+ years. Before the pandemic, they traveled to underserved regions to teach local pediatric cardiac teams in person. Because of the pandemic, our medical volunteers now train their peers online. Cardiac training is critical no matter what is happening in the world. One in 100 babies is born with congenital heart disease. These infants might not survive without needed care.
“Our medical volunteers are a key driver in our partner hospitals’ sustainability and the longevity of our partnerships,” says Bistra Zheleva, Children’s HeartLink’s vice president of global strategy and advocacy. “They approach partnerships with respect, empathy and understanding.”
The Children’s HeartLink mission is based on a train-the-trainer model. It means that our impact doesn’t end when our global partners complete our training program. They become centers of excellence and train other medical professionals in their region. That’s how we transform heart care for children around the world.
Zheleva explains: “Our medical volunteers take time to truly understand the partner hospital, the experience of the staff and the environment in which they work. Then they work in tandem with the site to find solutions to support the site’s growth towards a center of excellence in care for children with heart disease. I am constantly inspired by our medical volunteers as they build lifetime friendships and long-lasting relationships with health care professionals at our partner hospitals.”
Whether our volunteer teams are training hospitals on-site or providing support virtually, they help their peers in low- and middle-income countries advance their skills and improve heart care for children.
“They are passionate and committed individuals, human beings who are trying to create a better life for a child and create hope for parents who are in an area that lacks access to care for their child. Their engagement runs deep and their concern is genuine. Our volunteers want to make the world a better place by making the lives of children in need better, ” adds Boucher.
Read our recent blogs about the impact Children’s HeartLink and our medical volunteers make on global pediatric cardiac care: