About our team


A cardiothoracic surgeon born in Guyana and now working in Brooklyn, NY, Dr. Gary Stephens planned and performed the first cardiac surgery at Georgetown Public Hospital in Guyana in 2007.Dr. Stephens created the Caribbean Heart Institute to help provide advanced surgical care for patients who are suffering from life-threatening cardiac disease.

Since his first mission 15 years ago, Dr. Stephens’ team has regularly included June Lowe, DNP, Robert Stroud, CCP, and Rivka Mintz, DNP. This core group, along with many other volunteers, has successfully performed over 300 major cardiac surgeries.

More about Team Hearts

In 2023, the Caribbean Heart Institute joined forces with Operation International – Team Hearts to increase the potential for the group to access the resources, technical equipment, and critical skillsets needed to perform complex cardiac surgery in Guyana and around the world.

“Life-saving work has been done here for many years, and the hope of this collaboration is to continue to grow and expand”, said Dr. Sanju Balaram, Team Heart Director.

Operation International is committed to grow and support Team Hearts to help increase resources and improve patient access to cardiac surgical care.

Operation International Team Hearts is comprised of medical professionals that are passionate about volunteering their time and expertise in providing cardiac surgical and postoperative critical care for those who are unable to access or pay for this life-saving medical treatment. The team performs many cardiac surgical procedures including valve repair and replacement, coronary artery bypass surgery, cardiac mass removal, and aortic surgery.

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