Heart-to-Heart Founder Awarded for Helping Children

Dr. Nilas Young

Bay Area nonprofit leader and cardiac surgeon Dr. Nilas Young is being recognized as a “changemaker who has dramatically improved the lives of children around the world” and for “innovating life-changing nonprofit initiatives benefitting the world’s most vulnerable children.” Young is  founder and medical director of the Oakland-based Heart to Heart International Children’s Medical Alliance and also serves as Chief of Cardiothoracic Surgery and Residency Director at UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento. Young will be honored in New York City on Oct. 25 by the World of Children Award. The honor includes a cash grant of $75,000 for Heart to Heart. Young founded Heart to Heart in 1989 to provide life-saving heart care to infants and children in Russia. From the outset, he employed an education-based model to train medical professionals in the USSR with the goal of developing a self-sustaining children’s heart center of excellence. Nearly 25 years later, Heart to Heart continues to recruit, train and deploy high-level pediatric cardiac specialists who travel to Russia as volunteers to mentor teams of Russian physicians to develop self-sustaining children’s cardiac surgery centers that save the lives of thousands of children born with congenital heart defects. “We focus on teaching life-saving surgical technology to treat all children with congenital heart defects, from the most complex newborns to the most complex adolescents,” said Young. “The program model Heart to Heart employs reflects the evolution of contemporary congenital heart surgery. We believe this program model is the most effective way of teaching how to save the lives of children born with heart disease in areas of need around the world,” he said. Under Young’s guidance, physicians trained by Heart to Heart have saved the lives of more than 13,000 children and improved the health and lives of thousands more. The organization has expanded efforts to develop access to life saving heart surgery to children born anywhere in the Russian Federation and intends to expand beyond the Russian Federation in the future. For information on Heart To Heart International Children’s Medical Alliance, go to www.heart-2-heart.org
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