Help Us Share Their Stories: Fund 'Tiny Hearts' Documentary Launch

Global Cardiac Alliance is seeking your support to cover our remaining final expenses which include the final round of mixing for the songs used in the film, festival registration, and travel expenses.

Our goal is to raise $35,000 to address these needs.

Introducing Global Cardiac Alliance

Our Team

Our World-Class Team

Our team of volunteers and staff is truly international, from many faiths, ethnicities and cultures. Their diversity reflects our commitment to cardiac care that we believe should be available to all. Their skills are world-class — the children who need us deserve the best.


Dr William Novick MD, MS, GCA Founder

Senior Pediatric & Congenital Cardiac Surgeon
Dr Novick is a graduate of University of Alabama School of Medicine and completed his General Surgical Residency at the Graduate Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania before entering the Cardiothoracic Residency at the University of Alabama in Birmingham. Dr Novick chairs the management team.

Dr Marcelo Cardarelli MD, MPH

Pediatric & Congenital Cardiac Surgeon
Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina and graduated from University of Buenos Aires. Completed his original training in cardiac surgery in Argentina, with fellowships at Texas Heart Institute, Children Hospital of Philadelphia and Boston Children Hospital. Currently working at Inova Children Hospital in Virginia, USA. Currently Dr Cardarelli volunteers as a surgeon on our trips and he’s in charge of the Foundation research initiatives. He commented:

“I feel so incredibly lucky that I get to work with truly talented people from all over the world, travel to places I only dreamt of and on top of it produce valuable research about our work.”

Dr Vitaly Dedovich MD

Pediatric & Congenital Cardiac Surgeon
Dr Dedovich, MD, graduated from the Belarusian State Medical University in 2002 and completed his training in Pediatric General and Cardiac Surgery in Belarusian Pediatric Surgical Centre, followed by a fellowship in Christian-Albrecht-University, Kiel, Germany. In 2011-2017 he was chief of the Department of Congenital Heart Surgery at the Belarusian Cardiac Centre. Vitaly joined GCA staff in 2018 and now works full time sharing his knowledge and skill with colleagues in Low and Middle Income Countries.

Ali Dodge-Khatami MD, PhD

Professor of Surgery
Dr. Ali Dodge-Khatami graduated from medical school in 1991 and completed his cardiovascular surgery training in Switzerland in 1998, with fellowships at Children’s Memorial Hospital, Chicago and at Great Ormond Street Hospital for Sick Children in London, USA. He first volunteered for CGA in 2008.

Dr. Dodge-Khatami moved to the United States in 2012 after an international career, and has worked at the University of Mississippi and Herman Memorial Children’s in Houston, Texas, and was Chief at Cohen Children’s Medical Center in New York. He speaks fluent English, French and German, and is proficient in Persian, Dutch and Spanish.

Alex Golovenko, MD, PhD

Pediatric & Congenital Cardiac Surgeon
Dr Golovenko first volunteered for Global Cardiac Alliance in 2018 and has provided pediatric cardiac surgery in Libya (Tobruk, Benghazi and Tripoli), Iraq (Basra), and Democratic Republic of Congo (Lubumbashi). Alex is an accomplished statistician as well as pediatric cardiac surgeon and his special area of research is in pulmonary hypertension in congenital heart disease.


  1. Global Cardiac Alliance (Memphis, TN, USA)
  2. Amosov National Institute of Cardiovascular Surgery (Kyiv, Ukraine)

Anesthesiology, Perfusion
& Therapy

Dr Vancho Jovanov, MD

Dr. Vancho Jovanov, MD, graduated from Medical Faculty, University of St. Cyril and Methodius, Skopje – Republic of Macedonia. Postgraduate specialization in Anesthesiology and Intensive Care he completed at Clinical Center – Skopje, where he worked for another five years. He continued to work at Specialized Hospital for Cardiac Surgery Phillip II for two years and from 2010 until February 2013 worked as an international staff at Salam Center for Cardiac Surgery Khartoum – Sudan.

Dr. Vancho started to volunteer for Dr. Novick and his team in November 2012 and from 2013 he joined NCA staff as a full time anesthesiologist sharing his knowledge and skills with colleagues in Libya, Lebanon, Iraq and other low-income countries.

Artem Pershai MD

Pediatric Intensivist and Anesthesiologist
Dr Artem “Archi” Pershai graduated from Belarusian State Medical University in 2015, and is dual-trained as a Pediatric Cardiac Intensivist and Anesthesiologist. After qualifying in the Belarusian National Pediatric Heart Centre. Throughout his training and after qualifying Artem volunteered regularly with GCA and in 2018 he took a staff position.

Major General (R) Prof Dr Iftikhar Ahmed, GCA Founder

Consultant Pediatric Cardiac Anesthesiologist and Intensivist
Iftikhar is currently Chief Operating Officer (COO) at Bahria International Hospital Lahore Pakistan and Head of Department of Anesthesiology and Intensive Care Unit (ICU). Iftikhar was previously the Head of Department of Pediatric Cardiac Anesthesiology and Intensive Care at the Armed Forces Institute of Cardiology and National Institute of Heart Diseases, Rawalpindi. He developed a specialized Cardiac Intensive Care Course for Nurses which is accredited in the National University of Medical Sciences. He first volunteered in 2010.

Jack Cornell, RRT

Respiratory Therapist
Jack completed his Associate of Science degree in Respiratory Care at Sandhills Community College in 1978. Jack has more than 30 years experience working in pediatric critical care and has specialized in cardiac care at Duke University Medical Center for the last 22 years. Jack first volunteered for CGA in 2008.

Jack is a member of the American Association for Respiratory Care, an Advanced Care Provider and is ECMO-certified. He is also Co-Director of Camp Kaleidoscope, a summer camp for patients of Duke Childrens.

Lazo Eremija

Senior Pediatric Perfusionist
Lazo graduated with a Certificate of Perfusion from Westminster Biomedical College for Biomedical Technology, London in 1997. He completed his training in Great Ormond Street Hospital for Sick Children, London, UK. He attended High Medical School Belgrade in 2009 and is a member of EBCP. From 2010 until 2012 Lazo worked as international staff at Salam Center for Cardiac Surgery, Khartoum, Sudan, and he was Chief Perfusionist at the Institute for Mother and Child, Novi Belgrade from 1995 until 2012. Lazo has traveled extensively with CGA, making his first volunteer trip with Dr. Novick in 2000 to Peru.


Jean Towne

Director of Logistics
Jean began working with Dr Novick in 2010 as Medical Team Coordinator. Jean is now Director of Logistics with Global Cardiac Alliance, coordinating all projects from Memphis.

Donald Fitzgerald

Inventory Specialist
Don Fitzgerald is the Inventory Specialist at GCA. Donald was the Chief Inventory Specialist at the ICHF but joined NCA when it was chartered. Donald manages all incoming material donations and packs all outgoing supplies and pallet shipments that we make on our trips.

Nursing & Education

Lauren Gardiner RN, BSc

PICU Clinical Educator
Lauren Gardiner is a Registered Nurse and Clinical Educator. She graduated with a Bachelor of Nursing Sciences from James Cook University, Australia in 2004. She completed a Graduate Certificate in Adult Critical Care Nursing in 2008, and a Graduate Diploma in Paediatric Intensive Care Nursing at the University of Melbourne in 2014.

Martina Pavanic RN, BSc

Nursing Director Operating Room
Martina has over 24 years’ experience working as an operating room nurse, specializing in Pediatric Cardiac OR. She received a Nursing Diploma at the Mlinarska Nursing School, Zagreb, Croatia in 1996 and completed a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing at University of Memphis, Loewenberg School of Nursing in 2015. She received her training in OR at Hospital Rebro, KBC Zagreb between 1996-2000.