Dr. Jonathan Chen, Director of Pediatric Cardiovascular Services, leads a team of doctors, nurses and perfusionists on annual trips throughout the world to perform heart surgery on children with congenital heart disease. Most members of Dr. Chen's team are from NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital.
In May 2008, just one week after a major earthquake shook Southwest China, the team traveled to the former Manchuria to perform surgery and train local surgeons at the Jilin Heart Hospital in the city of Changchun.
In 2007, Dr. Chen and his team traveled to the Fann Cardiovascular Hospital in Dakar, Senegal, where they operated on seven children. "If even one of the operations we conducted enabled one of the surgeons to secure his skills in pediatric cardiac surgery," says Dr. Chen, "that surgeon could go on to operate on 100 sick children on his own."
During the team's second trip to Cambodia, sponsored by the Surgeons of Hope Foundation, the group completed a dozen cases in five days. One of the improvements in 2006 was the addition of two additional junior Cambodian surgeons to the team.
In February 2005, Dr. Chen led a group of nine cardiovascular specialists to the Phnom Penh Heart Center where they helped doctors there diagnose, catheterize and operate on children with congenital heart defects. Estimates suggest that 100,000 children in Cambodia suffer from heart disease, and probably one-tenth of those are in need of critical cardiac surgery.