At the core of Heart to Heart’s work is our education-based program model. To help our centers become independent within 5-7 years, we often sponsor Russian physicians from our developing sites to travel to more advanced centers – including our own graduated sites – to learn best practices and specific techniques.

This past October, November, and January, seventeen pediatric cardiac specialists from Heart to Heart’s partner site in Rostov-on-Don got the opportunity to observe at the Tomsk Cardiology Institute, an advanced self-sustaining Heart to Heart site in Siberia. There, the Rostov team was able to see first-hand how effectively the Tomsk team works together to provide diagnoses, timely surgery, and post operative care to children born with serious heart defects. Our Rostov colleagues also received consultations on treating complex cardiac cases from their own patient lists.

Great teamwork and communication are crucial elements of a successful pediatric cardiac program since each patient must pass through different departments to ensure they are getting the right procedure at the right time. In pediatric cardiac medicine, effective strong teamwork makes all the difference in the world.

This education was very important for our whole team,” said Dr. Anatoly Filonenko, one of Rostov-on-Don’s pediatric cardiac surgeons. “Our group included specialists with varying levels of experience and expertise. Those who were more experienced learned important nuances. The younger specialists also benefitted, growing their knowledge bases. And overall, we all came away with a greater sense of personal responsibility for playing our respective roles.”