Global Health Initiative

For the early detection and treatment of congenital heart disease in newborns

A collaboration between Nicklaus Children’s Hospital, through generous funding by the Larry De George (LDG) Foundation and the Lorena Perozo-Rocha (LPR) Charitable Foundation.

group of doctors holding diplomas.
group of doctors holding diplomas.

Supporting Universal Newborn Screening for Congenital Heart Disease in Colombia

The Global Health Initiative was established in 2019 with the aim of improving pediatric cardiovascular outcomes in Colombia by facilitating the early diagnosis of congenital heart disease (CHD) conditions in newborns and enhancing access to quality cardiac care. In collaboration with Nicklaus Children’s Hospital, this initiative is fully supported through the generous funding by the Larry De George (LDG) Foundation and the Lorena Perozo-Rocha (LPR) Charitable Foundation, based in Barranquilla, Colombia.

This initiative currently works closely with 16 strategically located hospitals, maternity centers, and universities throughout seven regions of northern Colombia to implement universal newborn screening for the early detection and treatment of CHD. The program supports participating sites by training nurses and physicians in the use of donated pulse oximeters and echocardiography equipment and by providing the most up-to-date clinical protocols for CHD screening and echo evaluations.

The program also provides ongoing clinical data and metric reports to all participating sites to ensure they meet optimal levels of screening adoption. As of December 2023, the Global Health Initiative has screened over 80,000 newborns for congenital heart disease. In addition, we have trained 466 physicians and nurses in up-to-date CHD screening techniques.

map of colombia with location pins for the sites.

Improving Access to Tertiary Cardiac Treatment for Colombian Children

The Global Health Initiative is also focused on enhancing tertiary cardiac care services for any diagnosed CHD cases by supporting a ‘hub and spoke’ model of care with key hospital partners in Cartagena and Medellin.

In Cartagena, the program is generously donating a state-of-the-art cardiac interventional lab to the main tertiary children’s hospital in the region, Casa del Nino, to help provide immediate regional access to higher levels of surgical complexity. A ground ambulance will also be donated to help improve regional patient transport for the most critical cases, thereby improving patient outcomes.

At Hospital San Vicente Fundación in Medellin, the Foundation has donated lifesaving Extra Corporeal Life Support (ECMO) equipment and provided for the international ELSO certification of the cardiac surgery and clinical team. This program has already measurably raised the hospital’s surgical complexity and helped improve patient outcomes.

ECMO team.Pictured: The ECMO team at Hospital San Vicente Fundación led by Dra. Sonia Morales Echevarria (second from the left).

Recognition of the Global Health Initiative in Colombia

In 2023, the efforts by the Global Health Initiative in improving cardiac screening in newborns were also recognized by the Colombian government, the national pediatric society and press outlets throughout Colombia.

Colombian Senate Recognition of Global Health Initiative.

Colombian Senate Recognition of Global Health Initiative - October 5, 2023

Left to Right: Mr. Climaco Molina, Co-Founder, LPR Foundation; Mr. Lawrence De George, Director, LDG & LPR Foundation; Senator Sandra Jaime; Ms. Lorena Perozo, CEO, LPR Foundation; Dr. Andrea Maggioni, Director, Global Health at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital; Dr. Marcos Mestre, Vice-President and CMO, Nicklaus Children’s Hospital.

Event to Honor GHI Efforts in Colombia.Colombian Pediatric Society (Sociedad Colombia de Pediatría)
Event to Honor GHI Efforts in Colombia – July 6-8, 2023


sites in Colombia


screenings performed since the program’s inception