SOURCE: Children's HeartLink

Children's HeartLink

March 05, 2012 09:00 ET

Children's HeartLink Announces Two New Members to Its International Advisory Board From Guatemala and South Africa

Advisory Board Focuses on Strategic Growth and Resource Development of Children's HeartLink's Pediatric Cardiac Programs

MINNEAPOLIS, MN--(Marketwire - Mar 5, 2012) - Children's HeartLink, a nonprofit organization promoting sustainable cardiac care for children in developing countries, announced today two new members to its International Advisory Board: Drs. Aldo Castañeda and Bongani Mayosi.

Established in May 2011, Children's HeartLink's International Advisory Board consists of experts and leaders in health care, public affairs and international development who provide Children's HeartLink expertise and consultation in areas such as strategic planning, capacity building, international relations and medical diplomacy.

"Children's HeartLink is honored to have such distinguished medical professionals join our International Advisory Board to help our organization, partner sites and medical volunteers provide access to quality cardiac care for children," said Elizabeth Perlich Sweeney, Children's HeartLink president. "With Dr. Castañeda's incredible expertise and experiences, including his work in Guatemala, and Dr. Mayosi's involvement and contributions in South Africa, their insights will be invaluable for the continued success of our capacity building efforts."

Aldo Castañeda, M.D., Ph.D., is the founder of the Pediatric Cardiac Surgical Unit of Guatemala and is professor emeritus of surgery at Harvard Medical School. After receiving his training and being on the staff of the Department of Surgery at the University of Minnesota from 1958 through 1971, Dr. Castañeda was recruited to Children's Hospital Boston and served for 20 years as chief of cardiovascular surgery and surgeon-in-chief. Described as a pioneer, innovator and master surgeon, Dr. Castañeda has trained nearly 100 pediatric cardiac surgeons, 44 of whom have become chiefs of congenital heart surgery programs around the world. He received the World Heart Foundation Humanitarian Award in 2004, and in 2006, Dr. Castañeda was inducted into the Pediatric Cardiology Hall of Fame.

Bongani Mayosi, M.D., Ph.D., is a researcher, teacher and clinician in cardiology and internal medicine and currently serves as the 7th professor and head of the Department of Medicine at the University of Cape Town and chief physician at Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town, South Africa. Dr. Mayosi focuses his work on heart diseases of the poor, including cardiomyopathy, tuberculous pericarditis and rheumatic fever. Dr. Mayosi is at the forefront of efforts to close the 'know-do' gap with respect to these diseases, encouraging policy makers to increase investment in evidence-based control programs. In 2009, he received the Order of Mapungubwe in Silver, South Africa's highest honor, for excellent contributions to medical science.

Other members of the international advisory board include (in alphabetical order):

  • J. Brian Atwood, chair, Development Assistance Committee (DAC), Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development; former head of USAID
  • Thomas Daschle, Co-Chair, senior policy advisor, DLA Piper; former U.S. House of Representatives member and U.S. Senator from South Dakota
  • Joseph A. Dearani, M.D., chair, division of cardiovascular surgery, Mayo Clinic; medical director, Children's HeartLink
  • Kathy Jenkins, M.D., M.P.H., department of cardiology, Children's Hospital Boston
  • Richard Smith, M.D., director of UnitedHealth Group's Chronic Disease Initiative (CDI)
  • Tommy Thompson, Co-Chair, partner, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld; former secretary of health and human services and four-term governor of Wisconsin
  • Daniel B. Wright, Ph.D., president and CEO, GreenPoint Group, a U.S.-China strategic advisory firm; former managing director for China and the Strategic Economic Dialogue (SED) at the U.S. Treasury Department

About Children's HeartLink
Founded in 1969, Children's HeartLink is a nonprofit organization partnering with health care centers in underserved regions of the world to strengthen their ability to diagnose and treat heart disease in children. Nearly 90 percent of newborns with congenital heart disease are in areas of the world where appropriate medical care is inadequate or unavailable. Children's HeartLink currently supports partner hospitals and programs in the following countries: Brazil, China, Ecuador, India, Malaysia, South Africa, Ukraine and Vietnam. For more information on Children's HeartLink, please visit, with additional information found on our Facebook ( and Twitter ( pages.

Contact Information

  • Carrie Ellis
    Children's HeartLink
    Email Contact
    952.928.4860 ext. 16