Children's Heart Fund


       While serving as a Cardiothoracic, general surgeon with the United States Army at the 121 Evacuation Hospital in Seoul, South Korea from July 1978 through July 1980, Dr. A. Thomas Pezzella became involved with the International Human Assistance Program (IHAP), coordinated by Harriet Hodges, (pictured to right). Established in 1972, this program enabled children with congenital heart defects to travel to various centers in the United States for treatment. Over a period of 20 years, more than 2,000 children from South Korea with no financial sources or access underwent open and closed cardiac surgery in both South Korea and USA. A significant number of these operations were performed in Minneapolis, Minnesota, by the Minneapolis Children's Heart Fund, headed by Dr. Joseph Kiser (pictured below) (Courtesy  childrensheartlink)

 In 1980, a similar program, the International Children's Heart Fund was established. It achieved full non- profit 501(c) 3 status in June of 1983. (Tax ID # 43-1260030) The International Children's Heart Fund (ICHF) began it's clinical activities at St Joseph's Hospital in Syracuse, NY in 1983.  Initial patients were referred from South Korea by Mrs. Hodges and Sister Michela Kim (figure 1 below).  Sister Kim had developed a similar program for poor children in Pusan, South Korea. Both Mrs. Hodges with IHAP and Sister Kim's program evolved into a cooperative effort with Yonsei University - Severance Hospital in Seoul, South Korea.  Dr BK Cho, the chief of cardiac surgery at Yonsei, (Figure 2 below)has been instrumental in advancing pediatric cardiac surgery in cooperation with Mrs. Hodges.  Since that time, Yonsei University has evolved into a leading center for both Pediatric and Adult Cardiac Surgery in South Korea. In addition, they have extended help to neighboring countries, that include Mongolia (figure 3 below), and Uzbekistan.

(Figure 1)
Sister Michela Kim (Far Left) with group of children
operated upon both in South Korea and USA


(Figure 2)
Dr BK Cho examining new pediatric cardiac surgery patients

(Figure 3) (from left)
Mongolian CT Surgeon, Dr. Zoljargal Chuluunbagana; Dr. AT Pezzella;
Dr. Y. H. Park, Chief of Cardiac Surgery Yonsei University;
and Mongolian Perfusionist, Dr Tuvjargal Chultemdarjaa.


Home Page