SOURCE: Children's HeartLink

Children's HeartLink

July 11, 2012 09:00 ET

Medtronic Foundation Awards Grant to Children's HeartLink for Pediatric Cardiac Care in India

MINNEAPOLIS, MN--(Marketwire - Jul 11, 2012) - Children's HeartLink, a nonprofit organization partnering with health care centers in underserved regions of the world to promote sustainable cardiac care for children with heart disease, today announced the awarding of a $230,000 grant from the Medtronic Foundation for growing and improving cardiac programs in their partner sites in India over the next two years.

"With the increased global momentum around non-communicable diseases (NCDs), our work of expanding and improving pediatric cardiac services in India relates directly to both the United Nations' new focus on NCDs and their Millennium Development Goals, specifically reducing child mortality," said Elizabeth Perlich Sweeney, Children's HeartLink president. "We are especially grateful to the Medtronic Foundation for their continued support and allowing us to carry on working with our four partner sites in India for the next two years."

"The world has turned its attention to NCDs such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes... diseases that collectively kill more people each year than any other cause of death. India is not immune to this ever-growing threat," says Dr. Jacob Gayle, vice president Medtronic Community Affairs and Executive Director of the Medtronic Foundation. "By supporting the important work of organizations such as Children's HeartLink, we at Medtronic hope to improve access to crucial diagnosis and treatment options, in India and elsewhere."

The Medtronic Foundation grant enables Children's HeartLink to continue to focus in three areas, all aimed at strengthening the system of care for children with heart disease. Children's HeartLink will collaborate with public and private stakeholders in India to:

  • Strengthen the capacity of Children's HeartLink's partner hospitals in India to deliver high quality, accessible pediatric cardiac care within individual centers and in the community at large, through training programs for cardiology and pediatrics fellows and for pediatricians practicing in the community
  • Support community capacity building programs for health professional training aimed at improving community-based screening, appropriate referral, and in-hospital care for children with heart disease across India. This includes facilitating the development of a self-sustaining, supportive network of pediatric cardiac centers and other stakeholders across the country.
  • Encourage our partner sites to continue to develop as thought and practice leaders in terms of adapting the latest and most current medical and management practices for use in the developing world, and sharing their results with other pediatric cardiac centers in India and the region.

In India, a country of more than 1 billion people, it is estimated that less than 5 percent of the children in need of treatment for cardiac disease actually receive optimal care1. This is due to a shortage of trained professionals in the field and limited numbers of centers able to provide treatment, as well as lack of government and public awareness around congenital and acquired heart disease. Some estimates show that approximately 10 percent of present infant mortality in India can be attributed to congenital heart defects2.

Children's HeartLink's work in India addresses challenges in accessing pediatric cardiac care due to the limited numbers of health professionals specializing in the field, inadequate public and government support, and a lack of awareness around congenital and acquired heart disease. Children's HeartLink addresses these barriers by providing training, education and mentoring programs for medical professionals specializing in pediatric cardiac care. Additionally, by working with large health centers that provide a great deal of charity care, Children's HeartLink is helping to reach the below-poverty-line population and expanding access to pediatric cardiac care. Finally, Children's HeartLink reaches outside the walls of individual health care centers and works with the broader health care community to begin to address the issues in a more systemic way.

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, Ukraine and Vietnam. For more information on Children's HeartLink, please visit, with additional information found on our Facebook (, Twitter ( and blog (

About Medtronic
Medtronic, Inc., headquartered in Minneapolis, is the global leader in medical technology -- alleviating pain, restoring health, and extending life for millions of people worldwide.

The Medtronic Foundation is committed to improving the lives of people around the world living with chronic disease. Its grant making is focused in three areas: health, education and community.

1 Saxena, A., Congenital cardiac surgery in the less privileged regions of the world. Expert Rev Cardiovasc Ther. 2009 Dec;7(12):1621-9.

2 Saxena, A., Congenital Heart Disease in India: A Status Report. Indian Journal of Pediatrics. July 2005; 72 (7): 595-598.

Contact Information

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