2012 HEALTH AWARD
Founder, Heart to Heart Global Cardiac Care
Peru and Russia
In 1989, a seven-year-old Russian girl’s life was hanging by a thread. She desperately needed heart surgery, but her doctors in Russia were unable to help her. California-based Cardiothoracic Surgeon Nilas Young heard about her case and volunteered to perform the surgery, saving her life.
Soon, he began receiving desperate pleas from hundreds of other Russian parents with children in need of cardiac surgery, and Dr. Young realized that he had a unique opportunity to help. Over the next 10 years, he developed a world-class pediatric cardiac center in Russia and founded Heart to Heart Global Cardiac Care. The organization quickly became a model for international humanitarian aid programs focused on pediatric cardiac care.
Under Dr. Young’s leadership, Heart to Heart Global Cardiac Care has annually coordinated teams of volunteer pediatric cardiac specialists to train hundreds of aspiring medical professionals in advanced cardiology, cardiac surgery and intensive care in Russia. To date, Dr. Young’s education-based approach and leadership have resulted in the development of three self-sustaining children’s heart centers and the life-saving cardiac surgeries of more than 15,000 children.