Heart to Heart is fortunate to work with many talented medical professionals representing some the best cardiac care programs in the world. Our volunteers have successfully trained hundreds of doctors and nurses across Russia. In turn, these specialists have helped to increase their country’s capacity to care for children with congenital heart defects by more than tenfold. One of our most dedicated volunteers, Dr. Janet Simsic, celebrated her 15th mission with Heart to Heart this summer. Janet has traveled with us to our partner sites in Samara, Tomsk, Rostov-on-Don, Kaliningrad, and Chelyabinsk.

(Left to right) Heart to Heart medical volunteers Tamara Clark, RN; Janet Simsic, MD; and Brenda Jarvis, RN evaluate a baby post-operatively in the ICU of Heart to Heart’s partner site in Kaliningrad, Russia.

(Left to right) Heart to Heart medical volunteers Tamara Clark, RN; Janet Simsic, MD; and Brenda Jarvis, RN evaluate a baby post-operatively in the ICU of Heart to Heart’s partner site in Kaliningrad, Russia.

Janet is the medical director of the cardiothoracic intensive care unit at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, one of the top pediatric cardiac care centers in our country. She is also an active competitive ballroom dancer, which, she says, has made her a better leader by helping her learn how to follow another person’s lead.

Janet is drawn to Heart to Heart because of our focus on self-sustainability. It is worth it to her to fly across the globe, stay up through the night and use her personal vacation time to train Russian doctors and nurses because she knows that it will lead to them being able to treat children with congenital heart defects on their own. As she says in our video, for Janet her best Heart to Heart moments are when she’s no longer needed at a partner site – this means her work there is done and her colleagues can successfully treat a high volume of patients with great surgical outcomes.