Healing Hearts Northwest began in 2008 with a chance meeting between Dr. Hal Goldberg and Dr. Joseph Mucumbitsi at King Faisal Hospital in Kigali, Rwanda. Since that time 5 HealingHeartsNW-FirstCut-small-9096surgical trips have been completed. Healing Hearts Northwest is one of 4 teams currently coordinating their efforts to help establish an independent sustainable open-heart program in Rwanda. Open Heart International from Australia, Team Heart from Boston, Chain of Hope from Belgium and Healing Hearts Northwest from Spokane, each travel to Rwanda for surgery one time a year. The Minister of Health of Rwanda and King Faisal Hospital support our efforts. These trips have only been possible because of a tremendously dedicated staff, major support from the surrounding community, and significant contributions from the medical community.


Below is only a partial list of the accomplishments over the last 6 years:


  • A little over 150 staff have donated their talents,time and finances to travel to a foreign country to help others. 95% of the staff is from the Spokane/Coeur d’Alene area. Staff from Seattle, Oregon, San Francisco, Boston, Texas and New York have joined our team on several trips.
  • 82 Rwandans have been operated on by Healing Hearts Northwest, which has
    allowed them to begin returning to their normal lives as parents, workers, and
    students. 500 Rwandans have received surgery by the 4 teams participating in the
  • We have received grants from the following
    1. Roy and Leona Foundation 2010, 2011, 2012,2015
    2. Amica Foundation – 2010, 2012, 2013, 2015
    3. The D. Robert McCaffree, MD, Master FCCP Humanitarian Award through the CHEST Foundation awarded in 2013
    4. Rotary Club – 2012, 2014
  • Providence International has given a grant to every Providence employee that
    has requested their support to help cover the expenses of individual trips – 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2015
  • In 2010 HHNW donated an EKG machine to a county hospital, CHUK and provided training to staff at the hospital.
  • In-kind donations from
    1. St Jude Medical – Heart Valves
    2. Medtronics – Heart valves, pacemakers and supplies
    3. Edwards Life Science – Heart Valves
    4. Terumo Medical – Perfusion packs, surgical packs
    5. Hap Gazian – shipping supplies
    6. Abbott – Istat machines and test kits
    7. Alere – INR machines, strips and Malaria Test Kits
    8. Providence Medical Center – Heart and Lung machine refurbished and donated
  • In 2013, Providence Medical Center donated a refurbished heart and lung machine and Providence International donated the cost of shipping the machine to Kigali. Healing Hearts Northwest is training the Rwanda professionals to use the machine.
  • Nursing Education Seminars – Full day course available to all nurses in Kigali on all trips. In the beginning, only a few nurses were able to schedule time for the conference. In 2013, 55 nurses attended the conference and stayed 2 extra hours to ask questions and learn new information. Our conference in 2015 was equally successful.
  • Physician gave lectures on all 5 trips as well as presenting patient conferences before surgeries began.
  • In 2013, Healing Hearts Norwest participated in the 9th Global Forum on Humanitarian Medicine in Cardiology; Conference June 28th through 30th in Geneva, Switzerland. All four surgical teams were represented along with 4 Rwandan Cardiologists. A segment of the conference, Thursday afternoon was dedicated to presenting the collaborative work being done in Rwanda. Speakers included Chip Bolman – Team Heart, Russell Lee – Operation Open Heart, Thierry Sluysman – Chain of Hope, Hal Goldberg – Healing Hearts Northwest, Joseph Mucumbitsi, MD Rwanda, and JaBaris D. Swain MD MPH.
  • Article in the South African Journal of Cardiology : Uniting to address paediatric heart disease in Africa:  Advocacy from Rwanda COMMENTARY published in August 2013
  • A local Rwandan physician has worked with HHNW since its inception to help with
    translating for patients and guiding us through the Rwandan system. Healing Hearts
    Northwest hosted Dr. Jean Claude Uwamungu, in Spokane for the summer of 2012
    and 1 week in 2013 to be mentored in-patient care and prepare for testing to qualify
    for a Residency Program. He is planning to become a Cardiologist in Rwanda. Jean
    Claude passed the ECFMG exam in July 2014 and is now attending a residency program at Montefiore Medical Center in New York.
  • In 2013, Healing Hearts Northwest began funding and training a cardiac nurse along
    with Team Heart from Boston and the Minister of Health in Rwanda to improve
    follow up of surgical patients. Alex Katabarwa RN began working in September of
    2013. He has developed a data base of 560 patients, established a patient
    communication system that allows all surgical cardiac patients to stay in touch
    with medical personnel and a chat site “what’sup” for patients to share information.
  • The Spokesman Review published a feature article on October 28tth, 2015 describing our 5th medical trip.
  • An article was published in Spokane Coeur d’Alene Magazine 2010 describing our first trip.
  • An article was published in the Spokane/Coeur d’Alene Woman’s Magazine 2013 describing our trip and what motivates our staff to continue their dedication to the program.
  • Healing Hearts Northwest was approved for 501c3 status in 2012