George Shortis is an Australian pharmacist who is a founding member of Operation Open Heart of Sydney, Australia. He has worked with Team Heart since 2009 and HHNW and King Faisal Hospital in Kigali, Rwanda. He has an incredible background in international medical work. In 1994, he and several other “young agitators” as he describes himself and fellow “conspirators”) worked to convince his hospital, Sydney Adventist, to create an international mission. In 1996, OOH’s first mission was to Tonga to do heart surgery on patients with rheumatic heart disease. Their next trip was to Papua New Guinea and after 15 years, they have trained local surgeons to hopefully have a self sustaining program within the next 2-3 years. The Australian mission work has expanded to 10 countries and 4 medical specialties drawing volunteers from across Australia and abroad.
He gladly shared what motivates him to continue his 100 flights per year. “I really enjoy seeing lives changed and the response of the people we have helped. I like seeing people working together in stressful situations and seeing the outcome. I grow as an individual and see others do the same”.
He first went to Rwanda in 2004 and has returned every year since. He has noticed much more coordination with the local hospital especially the nursing staff. Dr. Joseph, the head of the cardiology department inspires George with his incredible dedication to the Rwandan people. George helps to coordinate the three visiting teams (Australia, Operation Heart-Boston and HHNW) so that there will be less duplication and more sustainability.