Atlanta doctor starts nonprofit to resolve ‘cardiac crisis’ in his homeland

Atlanta doctor starts nonprofit to resolve ‘cardiac crisis’ in his homeland

By Hunter Boyce


A doctor from the Atlanta-based Piedmont health care system is on a mission to mend the “cardiac crisis” in Ethiopia. Piedmont interventional cardiologist Tesfaye Telila, M.D., who hails from the country, is the founder of the nonprofit organization Heart Attack Ethiopia.

The organization is dedicated to raising funds for awareness of Ethiopia’s cardiac crisis and to training more local interventional cardiologists. Currently, in Ethiopia, there are roughly five cardiac surgeons for every 120 million people. A whopping 15,000 Ethiopian patients are on a waiting list for cardiac surgery, Piedmont reported on Wednesday.

“The mission of our organization is to establish a sustainable cardiovascular service line in Ethiopia,” Telila said in a press release. “In this first phase of our intervention, we are recruiting volunteers to provide mission-based lifesaving heart attack care at currently available institutions in Ethiopia and eventually establish a more comprehensive Cardiovascular Center of Excellence that will be operated by the local healthcare professionals and that is fully accessible to everyone in need of emergency lifesaving cardiovascular care irrespective of their socioeconomic background.”

Board certified in internal medicine, cardiovascular disease, interventional cardiology, nuclear cardiology and adult echocardiography, Dr. Telila moved to the U.S. after completing his medical degree at Addis Ababa University. When he’s not nurturing his nonprofit, he treats patients at the Piedmont Fayette and Piedmont Newnan hospitals.

“Cardiovascular disease remains the number one killer in the world and 75 to 80 percent of all cardiovascular deaths occur in the low and middle income countries,” Dr. Telila said. “So, incidents that people would survive here in the U.S. are mostly fatal in Ethiopia. We can make a big impact in the world by collaborating with healthcare systems like Piedmont, medical device companies and industries, recruiting volunteers to save lives while also expanding our footprints internationally.”

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