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We are thrilled to announce that Dr. Thomas Crawford, long-standing member of our Board of Directors and our current Medical Director, will be the next Chairman of ForHearts Worldwide.   

As a cardiac electrophysiologist focusing on heart rhythm disorders, “implanting pacemakers falls squarely in my domain,” says Dr. Crawford of his work.

He currently serves as Clinical Associate Professor with University of Michigan Health, Frankel Cardiovascular Center, practicing in the areas of electrophysiology, atrial fibrillation, ventricular tachycardia and cardiac sarcoidosis.

Focusing on the Issue of Access
Dr. Crawford began focusing on the issue of access to pacemakers for patients in low-income countries a decade ago through a project he and his University of Michigan team developed called My Heart Your Heart. As Dr. Crawford explains, their purpose is to “systematize knowledge about reconditioning pacemakers and reimplanting them in patients in low-income countries free of charge.”

This led him to connect with ForHearts Worldwide Chairman, Dr. Benedict S. Maniscalco, with the goal of aligning the two programs and learning from one another.

And as they say, the rest was history, with Dr. Crawford becoming a member of our Board of Directors and serving as Vice Chairman, Medical Director, and now, the next Chairman of ForHearts Worldwide.

As Medical Director, Dr. Crawford has developed policies overseeing the credentialing of our Heart Centers and ensuring compliance with reporting standards on pacemaker performance and usage to our device donors.

“We foster relationships, we make sure the policies are adhered to, and we interact with various governments and their regulators…” says Dr. Crawford. “That is a unique role the organization plays.”

This fostering of relationships also includes building bridges with like minded organizations, such as the Heart Rhythms Society and the American College of Cardiology, to connect physicians with ForHearts Worldwide. 

Dr. Crawford plans to continue this relationship building as Chairman, confident in the solid foundation he is building upon, while envisioning new directions for growth. 

“The organization has been around for over 30 years, so I think we may be at a point where we are ready to broaden our scope of work to include non-pacemaker functions, such as provision of stents and valves for the hearts. The excitement is that there’s a critical number of folks here who already want to make this work, and I’m excited to work with them. It’s a shared passion that we have.”

Succeeding Dr. Benedict Maniscalco
Much of this foundation has been laid by Dr. Benedict S. Maniscalco, our outgoing Chairman and leader since 2003.

Over the past 19 years, Dr. Maniscalco has led ForHearts Worldwide with a passion to serve his fellowman and reverse the desperate conditions faced by so many people around the globe, particularly children, simply because they lack access to cardiac care and devices.  

His efforts emphasizing marketing, compliance, relationship building, and fundraising have led to achieving the highest level of financial solvency in our 37-year history. We are so grateful for Dr. Maniscalco’s contributions and proud that ForHearts Worldwide has been a part of his influential medical career.

Dr. Crawford will be filling some big shoes, and he continues to be inspired by Dr. Maniscalco’s work, particularly as a “prodigious” fundraiser and public speaker.

“He can speak without any notes for 30 minutes and capture the imagination of people in the room,” says Dr. Crawford of his predecessor. “When I had opportunities to observe him in action, I was always looking up… So I’m a bit worried!” he adds, with a laugh.

Though he need not be. As Laura DeLise, Executive Director, puts it, Dr. Crawford’s experience and credentials establish him as an individual who can “talk the talk and walk the walk.”

We are so excited to have Dr. Thomas Crawford as our next leader and Chairman!