Open Heart International is Interventional, Developmental and Sustainable.

We improve the global quality of life through service delivery, training and capacity building in
developing countries.


We will implement projects that:

  • Provide medical treatment for patients in developing countries who do not have access to such treatment owing to a lack of the necessary technical or financial means in their own country, irrespective of their nationality, race, or religion.
  • Provide training for local medical, nursing, and allied health staff in the specialist fields associated with different diseases.
  • Empower local health professionals and support staff in the countries we visit to deliver enhanced health care.
  • Create awareness and support the development of prevention and rehabilitation services in developing countries.
  • Facilitate and support Australian healthcare professionals to engage in the health care development processes in developing countries.

ADRA Australia’s board is accountable for the achievement of our purpose as outlined in our constitution.

That being, to reduce poverty by serving people and communities in need, by the provision of humanitarian, development and relief aid and assistance in Australia and overseas without regard to ethnic, political, racial or religion association or qualification.

With the exception of four ex-officio members (which are selected from specified leadership positions within the Seventh-day Adventist Church), Board members provide their services on a voluntary basis.

Experience represented on the ADRA Board includes international development, community and emergency management, administration, finance, legal, research and marketing.

Meet Our Board


Intensive Care Nurse, Mr. Russell Lee visits his missionary parents in Tonga, returning to Australia determined to find a way for Tongans to access cardiac surgery.
With limited availability to bring patients to Australia, “Operation Open Heart to Tonga” is officially established with the aim of taking a team to provide surgery in Tonga. It is a coordinated effort between Sydney Adventist Hospital staff (as volunteers), Hospital administration, and the Adventist Development & Relief Agency (ADRA).
45 volunteers form Operation Open Heart’s first ever surgical team and travel to Tonga. 15 lives are changed in Tonga.
Second visit to Tonga takes place. First ever bypass (open heart) surgery and valve replacement takes place.
Cardiac surgery teams visit Nepal and Vanuatu for the first time.
Cardiac surgery team visits Fiji for the first time.
China hosts a cardiac surgery team for the first time.
Under the leadership of Dr. Charles Sharpe a cleft lip and palate surgery team commences in Nepal.
The Cardiac program is again expanded with the first visit to Papua New Guinea.
HealthCare Outreach begins to be used as the umbrella name for all activities conducted.
A cardiac team visits Mongolia and Solomon Islands for the first time.
Dr. Alan Gale and Mrs. Annette Baldwin receive the Order of Fiji.

A cardiac educational project is established in Vietnam.
Cardiac project work begins in Myanmar.
The Nepal cleft lip and palate program concludes. The needs of the local community continue to be met by trained Nepalese surgeons and other international visiting teams.
An orthopaedic project in Cambodia is established under the leadership of Dr. Graham Gumley specifically focused on hand and upper limb surgery.
Operation Open Heart lands on the African continent for the first time with a visit to Rwanda.

In response to emerging needs, the Nepal burns surgery program commences to replace the cleft lip and palate project.
Cambodia hosts its first cardiac visit.
In PNG, 5 volunteers receive the Member of the Order of Longhu, and 2 the Cross of Medical Service Medal.
The first full-time staff member and manager is appointed.
100th coordinated visit is celebrated during the cardiac visit to Fiji.

We celebrate the 3000th patient treated during a cardiac visit to PNG.

Gynaecology surgeons join the Nepal burns project in response to the overwhelming need for uterine prolapse surgery.

Special Recognition Award is received at Australian Private Hospital Awards for “Excellence in Service Provision to International Communities”
The 25th anniversary is celebrated with “Art from The Heart”, a collection of favourite photographs and images. A permanent display now resides in the entry of Sydney Adventist Hospital.

The first Primary Health project commences in Cambodia.
The Women’s Health Nepal project is officially established following two years as part of the Burns Surgery project. The separation of the teams gives both the opportunity to grow.
The first Eye Surgery project is launched, with over 130 patients receiving surgery in the Philippines.

Open Heart International is launched as a new identity to better reflect the work of the entire program. The name draws its meaning not only from the origins of the program, but from the openness and giving of the volunteers.
The Rwanda project expands to include Tanzania and the project is renamed East Africa.
The 150th project visit since inception occurs, with a visit to the Philippines.
Dr Ian Nicholson (AM) is selected as NSW finalist in the Australian of the Year Awards.

Open Heart International joins forces with ADRA Australia to leverage opportunites for growth, enhance our impact, and improve efficiency.

New projects begin in Ahmedabad, India and Cochabamba, Bolivia.