When we officially became ForHearts Worldwide in 2022, it was a new name for an even bigger mission: to do everything we can FOR HEARTS in need by broadening the scope of care we provide.
Our work providing implantable pacemakers to those in need in developing countries is saving lives. But it is just part of the bigger picture of cardiovascular care that these patients need.
As the Clinical Associate Professor at the University of Michigan Health’s Frankel Cardiovascular Center and practicing cardiac electrophysiologist focusing on heart rhythm disorders, Thomas C. Crawford, MD knows this firsthand.
“Because of my work, I see every day what a difference having a pacemaker could mean to a human being,” says Dr. Crawford. “I feel that it is a benefit that should not be restricted to only the people that I treat personally, but…we’re just talking about one aspect of their care.”
When it comes to providing “this type of therapy to people in other countries,” Crawford admits it can feel “frustrating” when you see that these patients in need “don’t get enough care in a variety of situations.”
In his role as Chairman of ForHearts Worldwide, Dr. Thomas Crawford is leading the expansion of the cardiovascular care we provide to those in need.
“We have saved 17,000 people over the years,” emphasizes Dr. Crawford, but ForHearts Worldwide is now at the forefront of being able to expand that offering to other services beyond pacemakers and defibrillators to the arena of heart failure management, as well as stents and valves. And that is where I would like to take the organization next, to provide this more comprehensive cardiovascular support to our Heart Centers.”
This vision for our expanded mission is a natural next step, grounded in the medical knowledge and capabilities that our doctors and staff currently have—and have the potential to provide through these related services.
As Dr. Crawford explains:
“The organization started with pacemakers, and then as technology evolved, it began to include defibrillators, which are implantable devices to abort cardiac arrest. And now with the most recent advances in technology and medicine, there are other devices that can actually make the heart, a failing heart, beat better. And of course, there’s this whole cardiovascular system that requires stents and valves. Stents keep the blood vessels open, and the valves can fix either a tight or a leaky valve. And so, I would like us to go beyond the rhythm management into the broader cardiovascular arena.”
We are not only looking at expanding the therapies we can provide, but also expanding the resources we can offer to our patients and doctors.
“I would like to also improve our ability to educate physicians in other countries and to be able to provide their patients with information on how to lead healthier lives,” says Dr. Crawford.
Expanded Services Start with Expanded Relationships
Expanding the scope of our care and procedures may expand the focus of our mission beyond pacemakers, but in truth it goes straight to the heart of our mission (pun intended!)
For 38 years, ForHearts has been providing pacemakers and implantation procedures to those who need them most. But our work does not end when the patient returns home.
“We don’t just provide a therapy to a patient and then never see them again,” explains Dr. Crawford. “We work with our Heart Centers in each of these countries, which are established and run by practitioners who continue to provide oversight for the devices…All of our patients become our friends, and we see them throughout their lives, a few times a year for their follow up. And so we get information about them, and we hear their stories, and we see how much good we’re doing by being able to witness it.”
ForHearts patients are patients for life! These lifelong relationships are at the heart of our work, and it truly takes a community working together to make the ForHearts mission possible: our ForHearts staff, Board of Directors, Heart Center doctors, nurses, in-country volunteers, device manufacturers, sponsors, and donors.
Our network of medical professionals and facilities across the globe who are already donating their time, equipment, and expertise will help to make our expanded mission possible. But forming new relationships and partnerships are also crucial to expanding the mission. Just as we have partnered with manufacturers for pacing devices, expanding our care ForHearts will require additional industry partnerships for devices such as stents and valvulare replacement devices.
“Because of what we do, we really have to maintain and grow relationships with the industry because those are the organizations that actually make the devices that we offer to patients,” says Dr. Crawford. “We have to leverage that with our relationships with each of the Heart Centers and with other organizations in the field, like Heart Rhythm Society or American College of Cardiology.”
In his previous role as ForHearts Medical Director, Dr. Crawford laid much of the groundwork for fostering relationships and building bridges with these like-minded organizations and medical professionals, putting him in a position to “talk to different parties using the language that they’re used to and kind of make everything work.”
Your Giving Can Help to Expand Our Mission
There’s another key relationship in making our expanded services and mission possible: the relationship with our donors and sponsors who provide invaluable financial support.
“We can’t do the work that we want to do, that is important, if we can’t have a minimum of finances to support the organization,” says Dr. Crawford. “And that’s logistical work and building further relationships with other people and other organizations.”
Corporate partnerships and sponsorships make these fundraising events possible, while also providing sizable, regular monetary support that is crucial to our ability to grow our mission and provide more services. But that’s not to overlook the role individual donors play with their gifts, monthly giving, and fundraising efforts such as holding social media fundraisers.
Every relationship matters and every partnership is precious in funding and furthering our mission.
ForHearts Chairman Dr. Thomas Crawford invites YOU to help us grow our life-saving mission:
“I very strongly believe in our mission. I think we do a lot of good work, and we’re able to do that because of people like you who open their wallets and who volunteer to do work with us.”