Dr. Marcelo Cardarelli, who received his MPH from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in 2006, was selected by TIAA as a Difference Maker for his work as a volunteer surgeon with the William Novick Global Cardiac Alliance. The surgeons takes nearly 30 trips around the world to operate on more than 100 children in developing countries each year.
In 2014, Dr. William Novick and Dr. Cardarelli and other clinical pediatric cardiac experts pulled their resources together to start the organization.
Their goal is to build a network that provides comprehensive care to all children with congenital or acquired heart disease. Approximately 810,000 children are born with some form of moderate to severe congenital heart disease, and 250,000 of them die each year due to a lack of access to adequate care. The WNGCA aims to set up self-sustainable programs in those countries that will improve the quality of care for the children and help reduce the need for foreign aid in the future. “The inspiration comes from seeing those parents traveling enormous distances to get their child to the doctors that will fix their heart,” Dr. Cardarelli says.
Cardiac Alliance has set up pediatric cardiac surgery programs in underserved areas of the world, including programs in Iraq, Libya, Iran, Ecuador, Ukraine, Honduras, Macedonia and others. Cardiac Alliance will receive a $10,000 donation from TIAA to help with the effort.