Children's Heart Fund

South Korea
1968 - 2010, 2013, 2016

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 information about South Korea

Severence Hospital, Yonsei University

While a pre-med student at Holy Cross College in Worcester, Massachusetts and working part time as a laboratory technician at Saint Vincent's Hospital, also in Worcester, I met James Walsh MD. Following his discharge from the US Army, he served as a medical missionary in Kwang Ju, South Korea. He sparked my interest in this fascinating country. Following my first year at St. Louis University School of Medicine in 1968, I spent a month at the clinic he worked - Saint John of God Clinic in Kwang Ju, South Korea. The dedicated missionary Brothers and the grateful Korean people mad a lasting impression. In 1978 was assigned as a Berry Plan Army Thoracic Surgeon to the 121 Army Evacuation Hospital in Seoul, Korea. For one year I was able to care and operate on indigent Korean patients. I also met Bum Ko Cho, MD (pictured left) a Cardiac Surgeon at Yonsei Severance Hospital. He returned to Korea following a year in the USA as the Graham traveling fellow in Cardiac Surgery. We work together for year as he developed his Cardiac Surgery Program.

It was. Harriet Hodges (pictured right), however, who changed my entire focus. Her husband Carroll, a retired US Army Colonel was the head of the International Human Assistance Program in South Korea. Harriet developed a program for children with Cardiac Disease. Since the Korean programs were still evolving, a large waiting list for needed surgery developed.

 Harriet developed a relationship with the US Army Thoracic Surgeons at the 121 Evac. Hospital. They helped screen and evaluate the children. Over a 20 year period, Harriet coordinated the free or discounted Cardiac surgery for over 2000 patients in over 20 centers in the USA.

Being involved in that effort transformed my entire perspective. So began the International Children's Heart Fund in 1980. My love and admiration for the Korean people has continued over the ensuing years with multiple visits and willingness to help. At present South Korea has emerged as a global power. The advances in Cardiac care including Cardiac Surgery, continues to grow. The Korean people should be proud of their accomplishments. They have not forgotten the help and generosity of United States, and more importantly, the American people, as well as other dedicated missionaries from around the world.

Byung-Chul Chang M.D.
Director, Cardiovascular Center
Yonsei University, 2004

Young-Hwan Park MD
Director, Dept of Cardiovascular and Thoracic surgery
Yonsei University, 2006



A visit was made to Yonsei University in June 2007 (above). Further collaboration was made,
 including involvement with the South Korean Rotary Club Gift of Life program.


In May 2010, further discussions were held to
promote initiatives in Mongolia. Dr Bum Koo Cho, now Director of the Korean Heart Foundation, has pledged further cooperation and aid
with Mongolia.

(Dr. Cho on right)

The Korea Heart Foundation

A recent visit, January, 2013 was made to Seoul, Korea
 to evaluate the Korean efforts in CT surgery.

South Korea has made significant advances in CT surgery. Many of the medical centers have become active with voluntary and humanitarian projects abroad. In Seoul city, Yonsei University and the Severence Hospital Cardiovascular Center have pursued long term projects in Mongolia and Uzb
ekistan. The Korean Heart Foundation has sponsored clinical training of CV surgery teams. New new endeavors has been established in Vietnam and Kazakhstan.

Again in July 2016, a meeting was made with Dr Cho to discuss further programs in Mongolia and Vietnam. As noted, Dr BK Cho is a retired pediatric cardiac surgeon, and former chief of cardiac surgery at Yonsei University in Seoul, Korea, and the current director of the   Korea Heart Foundation.
The foundation has developed a program to provide hands on cardiac surgery training of individuals and team members for 16 month in programs at several Korean heart centers. Recent countries of mutual cooperation with the International Children’s Heart Fund
continues to include Mongolia and Vietnam.


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