Three Macalester students traveled the world this summer learning about the work of Twin Cities-based nonprofit Children’s Heartlink.

Farah AlHaddad ’17 (Damascus, Syria), Milliecia Lacy ’17 (Minneapolis), and Chris Pieper ’18 (Chicago) studied sustainable pediatric cardiac programs in low-resource settings through Macalester’s Educating Sustainability Ambassadors (ESA) initiative, which aims to give students a multifaceted, real-world perspective on the framework of sustainability.

The trio started the summer by traveling to two of Children’s Heartlink’s overseas partner hospitals, participating in an International Quality Improvement Collaboration conference at Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences in Kochi, India, before continuing on to Institut Jantung Negara (IJN) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. They attended lectures and meetings, observed hospital proceedings, and interviewed patients and families, medical teams and hospital administrators for their project. 

After returning to the Twin Cities, AlHaddad, Lacy, and Pieper compiled their data into a report detailing their findings. “We know that 10 weeks is a short time and our work only a small addition to Children’s HeartLink, but we hope it’s useful and will be used to create stronger and more sustainable programs, “ says AlHaddad. 

The three students will present their findings at Macalester, and will also share their recommendations with IJN in Malaysia

“Working with such dedicated people from around the world, working hard to make a difference and ultimately change people’s lives has been truly inspirational,” says Lacy. “Dr. Siva, a surgeon at IJN, said that ‘our marriage with Children’s HeartLink is the best thing to ever happen to our organization.’ His words really showed us firsthand the far-reaching impact that small, dedicated teams can have on the lives of real people around the world.” 

Adds Pieper, “Most of us weren’t really thinking seriously about starting NGO careers after college, but this experience showed us just how powerful the impact of small organizations like Children’s HeartLink can be.”

Adapted from an article from Children’s HeartLink by Ryn Wiebe.


August 22 2016

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