SOURCE: One Heart

March 11, 2008 08:00 ET

Women's Health Humanitarian Selected for CNN Heroes Award

Arlene Samen Saving Lives One Birth at a Time

SALT LAKE CITY, UT--(Marketwire - March 11, 2008) - CNN has searched the globe for unheralded heroes as part of a yearlong search. Arlene M. Samen, Founder and Executive Director of One H.E.A.R.T. (Health, Education, and Research in Tibet) was chosen by CNN's panel of judges as a person who found hope and practical solutions to some of the most challenging women's healthcare issues in many regions of the world. Arlene Samen's story will air this Thursday, March 13, 2008.

Arlene Samen has dedicated her life to serving women and children in isolated communities in developing countries. Samen is an experienced Maternal-Fetal Medicine Nurse Practitioner with twenty years experience in volunteer health programs in Mexico, Nepal, India, Philippines, Tanzania, Madagascar, and many parts of South America. She has been actively involved in Tibet over the past ten years.

"As a mid-wife trainer, I was delighted to join the One HEART project to improve practical life-saving skills on maternal and child health in the remote villages," said Dr. Pendron, Vice Director, Obstetrics Department, Lhasa Municipal Hospital. "This year we achieved a significant result."

Tibetan society lacks traditional birth attendants; Tibetan women often deliver alone in a stable without access to obstetric care. This places them and their newborns at greater risk of dying from various pregnancy and delivery-related complications. In order to reduce maternal and newborn mortality, Samen was inspired to found One HEART (Health, Education, and Research in Tibet). One HEART began seeking solutions to barriers that limit access to health care for pregnant women and their newborns.

One HEART trains care providers at all levels of the local health care infrastructure. The nonprofit's programs are successful because they are culturally sensitive and collaborate with the local health authorities, including the Director of the Lhasa Prefecture and the Chinese advocacy organization, the Women's Federation. One HEART teaches midwifery skills to health workers, villagers, and family members as well as trains physicians in Lhasa's Regional Hospitals. Birthing kits, prenatal vitamins and life-saving medications are distributed to families in remote areas for a safer delivery.

About CNN Heroes

CNN is featuring everyday heroes across its television networks, digital services and at, encouraging viewers to submit and nominate local heroes they deem deserving of recognition. In 2007, the CNN Heroes Initiative received more than 7,000 nominations from viewers in 80 countries. More than 90 countries were represented among the nominees. CNN is rolling out its 2008 Heroes initiative and will be highlighting the following categories: Defending the Planet, Fighting for Justice, Community Crusader, Medical Marvel, Championing Children and Young Wonder. From the pool of thousands of nominees, in 2007 eighteen were chosen for the CNN Heroes: All-Star Tribute television show.

Listed below is an airing schedule. The One HEART segment will premiere on Larry King Live next Thursday, March 13, 2008, and an article, bonus materials, and a short and long segment will be on-line at Please watch the one-minute version on CNN Newsroom, and a longer version will run on Headline News and CNN International.

Thursday             9-10P/12-1A   (LKL)
Friday               8-9A, 11A-12P (American Morning, CNN Newsroom)
Saturday             10-11A, 5-6P

Friday               1:30-2P
Friday               5-6P
Friday               8-9P/10-11P/1-2A (Nancy Grace)
Saturday             8:30-9A

Friday  2A, 7A, 12P, 8P
Weekend Run of Network

- Panorama Mundial   9pm

- Al Dia             7am
- Nuestro Mundo      2pm
- Encuentro          6pm
- Directo            7pm

Sunday:- Mirador Mundial  7pm

Arlene Samen - Biography
Founder and Executive Director of One H.E.A.R.T.

When Arlene Samen began working as a nurse in Las Vegas, Nevada, more than 25 years ago, she never imagined that one day her work would take her to the furthest reaches of rural Tibet. Even when she began volunteering her services to Interplast, an international nonprofit organization that provides free plastic surgery in developing countries, she had no plans to travel there. By the late 1990s, Arlene had participated in more than 15 volunteer medical trips to such diverse locations as the Philippines, Jamaica, Tanzania, Chile, India, Madagascar, Honduras, Mexico, and Ecuador. It was on one of those trips that she took on a life-changing mission to help save the lives of the women and children of Tibet.

In 1997, while on an Interplast mission, Samen learned about the tragic plight of pregnant women and newborns in rural Tibet, often due to preventable causes. After visiting Tibet, Samen knew she had found her calling in life. Within a year, she founded One H.E.A.R.T. (Health, Education, And Research in Tibet), a charitable organization dedicated to saving the lives of Tibetan women and their newborns during the birthing process by providing the simple training and medical supplies necessary to prevent a majority of the birthing-related deaths that occur daily.

In collaboration with the Lhasa Prefecture Health Bureau, Samen is dedicated to ensuring that all pregnant women and infants in Tibet have access to life-saving care and information. She divides her time between Tibet, where she provides healthcare and teaching directly to pregnant women and health care workers, Mexico, and Salt Lake City, where she is engaged in outreach, administrative and fundraising duties to launch the expansion of One H.E.A.R.T.

In May 2001, Arlene Samen was selected as one of 50 Unsung Heroes for Acts of Compassion, by the Grace Family Foundation. Recently, Ms. Samen was honored as "Women Who Make A Difference" by the Western Region Soroptimist Organization.

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