Volunteers Inspire Children’s HeartLink to Truly Transform Heart Care for Children

Published April 1, 2022
Updated April 1, 2024

2023-24 Children's HeartLink volunteer teams at pediatric heart care training visits around the world

Medical volunteers are at the heart of Children’s HeartLink’s mission. Simply put, we can’t serve our mission without them. 

During Volunteer Appreciation Month, we recognize those who have contributed 5,100 hours of volunteerism in 2023 – that’s over 200 days’ worth of time given!  

“What inspires me most about our medical volunteers is their depth and breadth of knowledge and their depth and breadth of caring,” said Jackie Boucher, president of Children’s HeartLink. “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.”  

Our medical volunteers are global leaders in pediatric cardiac care. Oftentimes, they use their own paid time off to fly for multi-day training trips to share their skills and knowledge with heart care teams at hospital partners in Bangladesh, Brazil, China, India, Malaysia and Vietnam. 

Scroll down to see the medical volunteers who give so generously of their time! 

The relationship they build with their peers at our partner hospitals is centered on deep mutual respect, friendship and a common goal – to provide high-quality heart care to children with CHD. Read words of gratitude that have been shared by hospital partners. 

In 2023, Children’s HeartLink partner institutions served 196,000 children with heart disease!  

Support Medical Trainings & Send Your Own Message of Gratitude

Your Name Here Proud Supporter of Children’s HeartLink

Virtual and in-person training sessions that have resulted in these life-saving measures, include:

  • Nurses in Bangladesh saved a child’s life after learning CPR techniques from medical volunteers during a training visit. CRP Training Nurses Bangladesh Children's HeartLink
  • Ngan received lifesaving surgery in Vietnam after guidance from her heart care team’s medical volunteers during a virtual case discussion. 
  • In Malaysia, a Children’s HeartLink Center of Excellence now serves as medical volunteers providing nurse training of its own for other partners. 
  • A nurse in India saved a child’s life after she noticed abnormal breathing that she recognized from a lesson in our Nurse Residency Program curriculum and knew to alert a doctor because of training received from medical volunteers. 

By financially supporting Children’s HeartLink, you are supporting these volunteer initiatives that are transforming heart care in underserved regions of the world.  

“The skills and commitment of our medical volunteers motivate us every day to work harder to reach more children,” said Anne Betzner, vice president of programs and evaluation at Children’s HeartLink. 

Our medical volunteers come from 18 top teaching and research institutions: 

  1. Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, Liverpool, England 
  2. Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences, Kochi, India 
  3. Birmingham Children’s Hospital, Birmingham, England 
  4. Boston Children’s Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts 
  5. Children’s Hospital of Georgia, Augusta, Georgia 
  6. Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 
  7. Children’s Mercy Hospital, Kansas City, Missouri 
  8. Children’s Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota 
  9. Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, Ohio 
  10. The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Canada 
  11. Institut Jantung Negara, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 
  12. Leeds Children’s Hospital, Leeds, UK 
  13. Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota 
  14. Seattle Children’s Hospital, Seattle, Washington 
  15. Texas Children’s Hospital, Houston, Texas 
  16. University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, California 
  17. University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital, Minneapolis, Minnesota 
  18. West China Hospital, Chengdu, China 

Thank you to the Children’s HeartLink medical volunteers who worked with us in 2023:

We made our best attempt to include all of our medical volunteers from 2023. If you are not listed and should be please reach out to us. 

Vivian Karina Ackerman, RN
Aubrey Alden CPNP
Geoffrey Allen, MD
Doaa Aly, MD
Meghalakshmi AR, RN
Fadzilla Mohd Aris, RN
Grace Arteaga, MD
Glen Au, RN
Parveen Reddy B, MD
Erin Babine, RN
Christy Babuji, RN
Chris Baird, MD
Nayan Banerjee, MD
David Barron, MD
Patricia Bastero, MD
Angela Beatson
Jamie Bentham, MD
Aarti Bhat, MD
Nandlal Bhatia, MD
Denielle Bischoff, RN
Sarah Blonsky, MD
Nate Bohn, RN
Lyubomyr Bohuta, MD
Marissa Bremer, RN
Jennifer Bucek, RN
Helen Claire Busch, RN
Julie Bushnell, RN
Allison Cabalka, MD
Louise Callow MSN, CPNP-PC
Neil Cambronero, MD
Meg Cates, RN
Maggie Cavanaugh, RN
Titus Chan, MD
Amitabha Chattopadhyay, MD
Bianca Cherestal, MD
Ashish Chikermane, MD
Reema Chitalia MSN, RN, CPNP-AC
Haley Christian, MD
Mark Cocalis, MD
David Cooper, MD
Joseph Dearani, MD
Jason Deen, MD
Habiba Desai, RN
Heather Dickerson, MD
Elizabeth Ditto, RN
Kathryn M Dodds MSN, CRNP
Amy Donnellan DNP, CPNP-AC
Yoav Dori, MD
Christina Duelley
Joyeeta Dutta, MD
Austin Eats, RT
Sitaram Emani, MD
Erinn K Erickson, RN
Matt Files, MD
David Finn, MD
Anna Fisk, RN, PhD
Alejandro Abraham Floh, MD
Janet Forster
Justine Fortkiewicz, RN, NPD-BC, CCRN-K, CPN, CHSE
Lindsay Freud, MD
Vaisakh G, RN
Debasree Gangopadhyay, MD
Daniel Garros, MD
R Geethamani, RN
Mark Gelatt, MD
Ajeesh George
Todd Glenski, MD
Anmol Goyal, MD
Kendra Lynn Gram, MD
David Gremmels, MD
Vitor Coimbra Guerra, MD
Rafael Ricardo Guerrero, MD, FETCS, FRCS, FRCSI
Surbhi Gupta, MD
Aishwarya Gurav, MD
Geetha Haligheri, MD
Jessica Hannan, RN
Nur Hazirah Mohd Ros, RN
Peter Hesslein, MD
Yen Ho, MD
Jane Chow Hoang, RN
Meghan Holmes
Hayley Honcock, MD
Osami Honjo
Cecilia Hyslop, RN
Osama Jaber, MD
Karpagam Jayabalan, RN
Erin Jenkins CPNP
Lindsey Justice DNP, APRN, CPNP-AC
Lindsey Justice, RN
Mahesh K, MD
Sarah Kabatt, MD
Geetha Kandavello, MD
Rajesh Kanna, MD
Natasha Khan, MD
John Kheir
Kihan Kim, MD
Niko Kontoudios, RT
Sherri Kubis, RN
Snehal Kulkarni, MD
R Krishna Kumar, MD
Annie Lasaleta, RN
Gregory Latha, MD
Mark Lewin, MD
Trish Lincoln RN, MS, CCRN, BC-CNS
Jason Macartney, RT
Bruce Macpherson, MD
Nitin Madan, MD
Katsuhide Maeda, MD
Chris Mathis, MD
Sandra Mattos, MD
Andrea McCormick, RN
Dean McKenzie, MD
Sarah McMaster
Michael McMullan, MD
Chetan Mehta, MD
Ramya Menon, RN
Luc Mertens, MD
Brianna Lee Miller, RT
Emor Miller, RN
Leigh Mohler MSN, RN, PCNS-BC, CCRN
Deonna Monnahan
James Montgomerie, MD
Philip Moons, RN
David Morales, MD
Brian Morray, MD
Pablo Motta, MD
Claire Louise Mottershead, RN
Yogeswary Muniandy, RN
Krishnakumar Nair
Debabrata Nandy, MD
Alice Neetha
Michael Nemergut, MD
Hung Nguyen, MD
James O’Brien Jr, MD
Yishay Orr, MD
David Overman, MD
Niyati Patel, MD
Jeff Paurus MSN, RN
Erin Pinto, NP
Brijesh PK, MD
An Qi, MD
Mani Ram Krishna, MD
Fiona Reynolds, BSc, MBChB, FRCA
Sara Reynolds, RN
Christine Riley BS, MSN, APRN
Joseph Rossano, MD
Mahua Roy, MD
Agustin Rubio, MD
Alicia Said, RN
Hasri Samion, MD
Shunji Sano, MD
Navaneetha Sasikumar
Claudia Sassano
Anita Saxena, MD
Jonna Schnettler
Mark Schwartz, MD
Steven Schwartz, MD
Ritajyoti Sengupta, MD
Hirofumi Seo
Sanket Shah, MD
Venkat Shankar, MD
Sriram Shankar
M Shanthi, RN
Lauren Shaw
Pranava Sinha, MD
Sivakumar Sivalingam, MD
Sreelakshmi Sivan, MD
Angela Sorensen, RN
Brian Soriano, MD
Balaji Srimurugan, MD
Christopher Statile, MD
Sandy Staveski RN, PhD, CPNP-AC, FAAN
Julia Steinberger, MD
Laurie Steitenberger, RT
Sophie Stone
Shaila Suratkal, RN
Sarah Tabbutt, MD
Mary ML Tan
Ravi Thiagarajan, MD
Nisha Thomas, RN
Jason Thornton, RN
Glen Van Arsdell, MD
Mark Vargas, RT
Unnikrishnan VS, RN
Soo Kok Wai, MD
Kimberly Weiss, RN
Sarah K Wilson, RN
Emily Wright, RN
Shi Joon Yoo, MD
Abe Zabih, MD

Transforming heart care worldwide 

Some of our medical volunteers have volunteered with Children’s HeartLink for 10, 15 or 20+ years. Before the 2020 pandemic, they traveled to underserved regions to teach local pediatric cardiac teams in person. Because of the pandemic, our medical volunteers can now train their peers online or in person, using our blended learning model. 

Cardiac training is critical no matter what is happening in the world. One in 100 babies is born with congenital heart disease. 90% of these children and their families lack access to the lifesaving care they need. 

“Our medical volunteers are a key driver in our partner hospitals’ sustainability and the longevity of our partnerships,” says Bistra Zheleva, vice president of global strategy and advocacy at Children’s HeartLink. “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 Children’s HeartLink 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 Children’s HeartLink 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. 

Support Medical Trainings & Send Your Own Message of Gratitude

Your Name Here Proud Supporter of Children’s HeartLink

Read our recent blogs about the impact Children’s HeartLink and our medical volunteers make on global pediatric cardiac care: 

About Congenital Heart Disease
One out of 100 babies is born with congenital heart disease worldwide. Congenital heart disease is due to an abnormality in the structure of the heart. A child born in an area with access to pediatric heart care will likely survive and go on to live a healthy and active life. Sadly, for 9 in 10 of these children, they lack access to high quality care because it is not available or too expensive. Children’s HeartLink is working to change that by training in-country pediatric heart teams to treat children in Bangladesh, Brazil, China, India, Malaysia and Vietnam. 
About Children’s HeartLink
Children’s HeartLink saves children’s lives by transforming pediatric heart care in underserved parts of the world. The global nonprofit organization (NGO), partners medical volunteers from top teaching and research institutions with doctors, nurses and health care professionals in Bangladesh, Brazil, China, India, Malaysia and Vietnam to develop or improve pediatric cardiac care programs. Since 1969, the organization has reached more than 1.5 million children.