Heart Care International, a Greenwich-based nonprofit organization that provides lifesaving heart-care procedures for children in developing countries, announced that the Greenwich Rotary Club has donated $5,000 to support its expanding outreach this year.
The Rotary presented the contribution Feb. 25 after Heart Care International Founder and CEO Dr. Robert Michler of Riverside discussed Heart Care International’s mission, accomplishments and future at a Rotary luncheon meeting. An internationally renowned heart surgeon, author and lecturer, Michler is Surgeon-in-Chief and Professor at Montefiore Medical Center and Albert Einstein College of Medicine, as well as Chairman of Surgery and Chairman of Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery.
“Heart Care International is a perfect match for our charitable giving, which supports organizations in the local community and internationally,” said Greenwich Rotary Club President Sally Parris. “We thank Dr. Michler for introducing us to Heart Care International through his informative presentation. We are proud to be not only a fellow community member with Heart Care International but also a partner in its lifesaving mission.”
“This gift will save the lives of children and assure them of a bright future. Every dollar donated to Heart Care International goes directly to patient care since our board underwrites administrative expenses,” Michler said.
Heart Care International was founded 21 years ago by Michler, a member of Second Congregational Church in Greenwich. Heart Care International continues to receive support from the church and its members.
Heart Care International has cared for more than 1,900 children and performed lifesaving heart procedures on more than 1,000 additional children in Guatemala, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador and Peru. Surgical outcomes rival those of the best open-heart surgery programs in the U.S. This year, Heart Care International is establishing a new mission in Chiapas, the poorest state in Mexico.
Leading pediatric heart-care professionals from prestigious medical centers across the United Statesdedicate their time and expertise to visit underserved countries to save the lives of young children with congenital heart defects.
The cornerstone of Heart Care International is training host-country physicians and nurses to become proficient in caring for children in their own countries. Heart Care International commits to spend at least five years partnering with a team and a hospital in a host country, helping clinicians develop skills and benefit optimally from training. Through the Allison Scholarship Fund, Heart Care International sends doctors, nurses and other medical personnel to the U.S., Mexico City and Guatemala City for additional specialty training. This instruction multiplies efforts and sustains success.
“Very importantly, the lessons learned by host-country doctors and nurses can be applied to any child with a critical illness, whether it be heart disease, diarrhea, trauma or a life-threatening infectious disease,” Michler pointed out.
Citing another benefit, he said, “Heart Care International also brings medical diplomacy to host countries, highlighting the people of the United States in a wonderful and very deserving humanitarian light.”
What does the future hold? “In the next decade, we look forward to saving hundreds of more lives as we realize our long-term vision of combining Internet technologies, high-definition video imaging and real-time international communication to create a global medical university and heart-care system,” Michler said.