30th Anniversary

Since 1992, Heart to Heart International has been committed to its mission of improving healthcare access in the United States and throughout the world. In 2022, we’ll be commemorating our 30th anniversary with an exciting yearlong celebration campaign that you’ll see in a variety of ways.

First, watch for the anniversary announcement during the first couple of months of the year. We’ll be unveiling our anniversary logo, throwback social media posts, new anniversary website landing page as well as announcing various community connection opportunities.

Upcoming community events will include: quarterly group leadership tours, Lenexa Chamber of Commerce event, outdoor public community event on a Saturday in May and Applause in October.

For the first time, we’ll have public service announcements on TV and radio reinforcing the organization’s mission and vision and working to amplify awareness with donors and the general public. These PSAs will correspond simultaneously with media coverage focusing on the organization’s rich history and vision for the future.

The campaign’s goals will be to continue to build on Heart to Heart International’s strong reputation, engage supporters and the community and ultimately increase enthusiasm for support.

Internally, our employees will participate in staff celebrations to support workplace culture.

We hope you’ll join us as a stakeholder in the history of Heart to Heart International by sharing your story on our website or social media platforms, attending one of our anniversary events or supporting our efforts financially.

We want this year to be a time to honor the past, celebrate the present and envision a future where access to health is vastly improved.

We thank you for all that you’ve done to help us make a lasting and significant impact all over the world.

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Critical medial aid to African hospitals

More than $350,000 worth of medical supplies and equipment were distributed to two hospitals in Africa – Chambani Hospital in Zanzibar, Tanzania, and Yagoori Hospital in Lascanod, Somaliland. The medical equipment and supplies were donated by Heart to Heart International and distributed through the nonprofit organization Helping Hands for Relief and Development. The medical aid in the shipment included wheelchairs, hospital beds, stethoscopes, oxygen concentrators, and PPE. This aid will greatly improve the ability of the hospitals to care for its patients.

Chambani Hospital in Zanzibar, Tanzania:

Medical assistance can be hard to find in Tanzania, particularly outside of major cities. Inadequate funding plagues the country’s public health system with the result that the available facilities, staff and resources are not adequate to accommodate Tanzania’s growing population.

“This donation has equipped Chambani Hospital with advanced medical machines and supplies, thus improving the healthcare system of Zanzibar,” Helping Hands for Relief and Development said. “Projects like this donation are a key part of the vision to improve all healthcare across Africa. The Ministry of Health is grateful for this generous donation.”

Distribution in Tanzania:

Yagoori Hospital in Lascanod, Somaliland:

Prolonged instability in Somaliland has contributed to an inability to invest in government healthcare for the country. These donated medical supplies and equipment support Helping Hands’ mission to help the less privileged members of the society in Somaliland have access to advanced medical services.

Helping Hands for Relief and Development said, “This donation has equipped many hospitals especially the governmental hospitals with advanced medical machines and supplies thus improving the healthcare system of Mogadishu.”

Distribution in Somaliland:

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Healthcare & History in the Heartland

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Recently, Heart to Heart traveled to the edge of the Great Plains with the University of Kansas Medical Center to operate a health fair during the annual Emancipation Celebration in the historic town of Nicodemus, Kansas.

The whole town of Nicodemus is one of those quintessential American tales of hardship and hard work, westward expansion, newly-found freedom and finding a place to call one’s own and holding onto it.

Nicodemus was settled as a planned town in 1877, 12 years after the US Civil War during the Reconstruction era, by mostly former slaves from Kentucky and Tennessee.  At its peak the town boasted around 800 townsfolk.  Residents had petitioned for the Union Pacific Railroad to lay tracks trough the town, but the railroad dashed those hopes, bypassed the settlement and its long slow decline began.  However, Nicodemus is a National Historic Site, and is the oldest and only remaining all Black Town west of the Mississippi. A couple of dozen people still reside there.

Every year since it’s founding, the town holds an Emancipation Celebration during the last weekend of July to commemorate the end to slavery, the freedmen and women who founded the town and the town’s heritage.  This is a “coming home” celebration, as many descendents from across the nation come home to visit with friends and relatives while commemorating the rich history of Nicodemus.

It’s a purely small town Americana affair with a parade and talent show, even a pancake breakfast made from wheat grown in nearby fields.


But the celebration isn’t just about history, but the future too. A healthy future. And that’s what brought Heart to Heart International out here to work in partnership with KU-MED.

ayesOWtwSxi7JuMpfrIE4A_thumb_172acDuring last years Celebration’s health fair, 19 medical students and 4 HHI volunteers worked out of our Mobile Medical Unit to conduct laboratory tests, health screenings and physicals for 50 people.

 

Every year Heart to Heart is honored to have been a part of both the past and the present of this rich historic community and to have broadened access to healthcare out on the wide open Plains.


 

Pictures


Our Hero in Healthcare

Each year, a Kansas City-based business publication – Ingram’s Magazine – features outstanding health providers in its Heroes in Healthcare series.  HHI’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Rick Randolph made the list for 2016.

DrRR at ETU

Chief Medical Officer Dr. Rick Randolph, in blue shirt, extends his elbow to greet Major General Gary Volesky at the Tappita, Liberia Ebola Treatment Unit in January 2016.

 

According to Ingram’s Magazine, their Heroes in Healthcare are exemplary healthcare providers who go above and beyond the call of duty.

Read the nomination and you’ll understand why Dr. Rick was included by Ingram’s in this year’s class:

Heroes-in-HealthcareRGBFeature-620x443As Chief Medical Officer for Heart to Heart International (HHI), Dr. Randolph oversees our Global Health Initiatives as well as the recent launch of our Rural Health Care program in SE Missouri.  But what makes Dr. Randolph truly stand out as a Hero in Healthcare is the path that led him to his current position. 

His experience includes leading disaster response teams in Haiti and the Philippines for HHI as a volunteer, medical exchanges through Rotary International in Kenya and Uganda, providing primary care medicine in Senegal, Haiti, Kenya and Uganda.  He has medical military experience in Senegal, Haiti and Iraq. 

Dr. Randolph deployed to Liberia in the fall of 2015 to volunteer at HHI’s Ebola Treatment Unit (ETU)Upon arriving, Dr. Randolph was named Chief Medical Officer of the ETU and remained in country until July 2016—giving up his medical practice with College Park Family Care as a result.  

His selfless commitment to serving others through healthcare, building resilience, and mentoring others to be their best is why Dr. Randolph is a Hero in Healthcare not just in KC, but all over the world.  He is an exceptional human being and employee and his talents and selflessness are treasured at HHI.

Dr. Randolph will be honored at the Ingram’s 2016 Heroes in Healthcare Awards Breakfast, Thursday March 10, 2016 in Kansas City.

 

2016IngramsFebruarySmall-180x234Read more about Dr. Rick Randolph, his work with HHI, and access the full list of the Heroes in Healthcare in the healthcare special report in the February issue of Ingram’s Magazine.

 

 

 

 

 

HHI Passes $100 Million Mark in Aid Shipped in 2015

HHI reached a significant moment in the third week of November – shipping $100 Million worth of medicine and medical supplies around the world in 2015.

 

For the fourth time in its history, Heart to Heart International has shipped $100 Million worth of aid and supplies to people in need around the world within one calendar year.

Throughout the year, HHI receives donations of medicine, medical aid and materials from corporate supporters and partners that allows us to expand access to healthcare and help people in crisis around the world.  The value and amount of these donations fluctuates each year due to a number of factors.  This calendar year is shaping up to be a big one.  We’ll know once all the numbers are tallied at the end of the year, but it’s looking like it could be a record-setting year for providing aid.

What makes this even more special – HHI moved warehouse operations to a new facility during the winter of 2015, greatly reducing the amount of aid we were able to ship during the months of January and February as the new Operations Hub was put in order.  Meaning, most of the work to reach this big number took place between March and November.

To give an example of just one week at the HHI Operations Hub, here are stats from a week in November:

Shipments: 14
Value of Aid & Supplies: $3,091,851.67
Countries: Six – Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Honduras, Tanzania, United States, Uzbekistan

This achievement wouldn’t be possible without the combination of HHI staff, volunteers and corporate partners working together to make a true, positive impact and provide medicine and medical aid to those in need in the US and around the world.

 

*Many thanks to our friends at Children International and their communications coordinators who made the featured video

First Images from HHI Advance Team in Nepal

Our Advance Team has reached Nepal and is already at work coordinating our Nepal Earthquake Relief response, preparing the way for our Medical Team which will arrive soon.

Advance Team 1

Because of the earthquake damage, internet communications are sporadic.  But our team was able to send back a few images of what it looks like on the ground in Nepal.

These pics are from the village of Kokona.  Dr. Gary Morsch tells us there were about 20 deaths from the earthquake here.  The village is essentially deserted, with those remaining sleeping outdoors due to the fear of more earthquakes.  There was another aftershock here, which our team felt.

Advance Team 2Passing by this alleyway, our team learned that five people had perished in the collapse of this home.

 

Advance Team 3Dr. Morsch explains the photo above: “Delivering rice to a village where we saw so much destruction.  The man in the Scout uniform is the village leader, and he asked for our medical team to come tomorrow.  That means Sue and me, until the full medical team arrives!”

Our medical team – two doctors, three nurses and a paramedic – are scheduled to arrive Friday in Nepal.

Please support our Nepal Earthquake Relief response.

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Cyclone Pam: Vanuatu Relief Aid

The images tell the tale.  Cyclone Pam, a Category-5 monster, laid waste to so much of Vanuatu – destroying crops and homes, leaving so many in this south Pacific island nation homeless and in need.

cyclone pam damage

Photo courtesy of UNICEF PACIFIC / AFP – Getty Images

 

Heart to Heart International is responding.  An assessment team will soon be on the ground in Vanuatu to coordinate our relief effort.

Look for more updates soon.

In the meantime, please help us with this effort and keep us prepared to help others in times of need by donating today.

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Med Student Volunteer Team to make Ripple Effect

The second winner of the 2014 Ripple Effect Contest has her ‘boarding pass’ and will join three other medical students on a humanitarian service trip to Haiti in the summer 2015.

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Kathleen Iles is presented with a ‘boarding pass’ by Steve Hower of HHI (left in photo), and David Allyn of Welch Allyn, after being named a winner of the Ripple Effect contest.

 

Kathleen Iles, a first-year medical student at SUNY Upstate Medical University, was announced March 17th as one of two winners of the 2014 Ripple Effect Contest, a joint initiative of Heart to Heart International and Welch Allyn designed to inspire medical students to “change the world by giving back to their communities.”

The Ripple Effect Contest encourages medical students to use social media to share how they will create their own “ripple effect” of good in their community or globally.  Entrants were asked to ‘like’ the Ripple Effect program page on Facebook and share a picture with a short essay or a short video showcasing their “ripple effect” — a brief narrative about how they would “change the world” by using their training to help those in greatest need.

Iles, along with three other medical students to win the humanitarian service trip, will work alongside physicians and aid workers in impoverished communities in Haiti this summer. She will join inaugural 2013 Ripple Effect winners Oluwatoni Aluko, from Meharry Medical College, and Meghan Meghpara, from Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine on the trip, as well as the other 2014 winner Matthew Schilling, from Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine.

 

One ‘Ripple Effect’ Winner Revealed

Heart to Heart International has teamed up with Welch Allyn to encourage medical students to give back to their communities. With the Ripple Effect contest, two more medical students can now make their own ripple effect with a humanitarian service trip to Haiti.

2015 Ripple Effect winner LECOM

Matthew Schilling is presented with a ‘boarding pass’ by David Allyn of Welch Allyn, and Steve Hower of HHI, after being named a winner of the Ripple Effect contest. Photo by erietvnews.com

 

Matthew Schilling, a first-year medical student at the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine, was announced as one of two winners of the 2014 Ripple Effect Contest, a joint initiative of Heart to Heart International and Welch Allyn designed to inspire medical students to “change the world by giving back to their communities.”

This summer, Schilling and a yet-to-be-revealed student, along with student winners from the 2013 Ripple Effect contest will work alongside Heart to Heart medical teams in Haiti.

The Ripple Effect Contest encourages medical students to use social media to share how they will create their own “ripple effect” of good in their community or globally. Entrants were asked to ‘like’ the Ripple Effect program page on Facebook and share a picture with a short essay or a short video showcasing their “ripple effect” — a brief narrative about how they would “change the world” by using their training to help those in greatest need.

The second winner will be announced March 17, 2015.

 

 

Suspect Ebola Case Tests Heart to Heart ETU Staff

The call came over the radio.  A new mother was showing signs of EVD – Ebola Virus Disease – and was now considered a “suspect case”.  She had just given birth 5 days prior in the large hospital next door to the Ebola Treatment Unit (ETU) in Tappita, Liberia that Heart to Heart International (HHI) is operating.  This young mother had a fever, she was weak, lethargic.  And so the voice on the radio said the ambulance crew was on the way to retrieve her and the newborn baby, and deliver them to the ETU.

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In this tropical country, so close to the equator, an illness could be one of many things – dengue fever, yellow fever, lassa fever, malaria, among others.  But in this time of Ebola, no chances are taken.  So the hospital staff alerted the ETU staff.  And the ambulance crew that had been training for several days in a row on procedures and building teamwork, responded.  This was no training drill.  This was real.

Fortunately, the Ebola epidemic in Liberia has dropped significantly through a combination of a public awareness and education campaign by the Liberian government, the response of the US military, USAID, NGOs like HHI, International Medical Corps and others, and by the Liberian people themselves, as they embrace the changes to their culture in order to kick Ebola out of Liberia.  But still… the spectre of Ebola lurks.

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Outside the back entrance to the hospital, the ambulance crew began to don their PPE – Personal Protective Equipment.  These are the ‘space suits’ you see so many healthcare workers wearing – goggles, a body suit, triple gloves, mask.  Hotter than blazes inside it under the broiling African sun.  Because this was the real deal, as they pulled on the protective gear a few members of the crew began to sing a little Bob Marley tune – “don’t worry about a thing, cuz every little thing gonna be alright.”  I sang along as we all could feel the “what if” hanging in the humid air.

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Having one patient is one thing.  Having two, and one is a baby, is something more.  The newborn would have to go with the mother.  It took a little more coordination and thinking through the process, as you don’t move quickly or rashly when in PPE for fear of possible exposure.  But in the end, the training the crew has been doing paid off – the woman was loaded by stretcher onto the ambulance and the swaddled newborn was handed to a PPE-clad nurse to carry to the ETU.

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At the ETU, the donning tent was busy with staff dressing in PPE to take their positions as the mother and child were brought in through the patient gate of the ETU and directly into the Suspect Tent, where patients wait for test results before leaving or going to the Confirmed Tent.  Behind them trailed a sprayer, dousing the ground where they had walked carrying the patient, turning the path dark and wet with chlorine.

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A nurse drew a blood sample from both mother and child which was then hand-carried a couple of hundred yards to the US Army lab set up inside a wing of the hospital and placed inside a box outside the door.  Then, US Army Captain Jerod Brammer wearing his own PPE suit came to collect, spraying the outside of the box with chlorine before bringing the box inside to test the contents.

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The woman and child’s tests came back negative.  No EVD.  No Ebola.  And the woman and baby were taken back to the hospital, a better place for both than the sweltering suspect tent.  But this story doesn’t have a happy ending.  The woman died a day later.  Doctors shared that another medical condition likely caused her death.  The news tempered the joy of the job well done by the ETU staff and the negative test results.

Now our psychosocial team plans to help take the baby to the mother’s village. To family.  But also to a world that was already difficult and hard for babies, even before Ebola came to Liberia.

UPDATE 12Feb15: The worst news.  A few days after the mother died, her baby passed away too.  According to our Chief Medical Officer, the cause of the newborn’s death was not determined.