All posts by Steven Bowers

Ventilatory Support in Neonates Training Launched in Kharkiv

Do you know the real reason so many Ukrainian women go abroad to give birth?

There are large numbers of private maternity houses and state perinatal centers throughout Poland, the United States, England, Germany and other countries that welcome expectant mothers from beyond their own national borders, and many of these mothers come from Ukraine.

But why do Ukrainian women continue to choose hospitals so far from home? Is it for the comfort? Is it that some are wealthy and are doing it for status?

I’ve been giving a great deal of thought to this question lately, and I think I know how to explain it. Though some of the factors I mentioned may play minor roles in the decision, the biggest reason a woman makes this choice, I’m convinced, has to do with the safety of the tiny, delicate, extremely important being she is about to bring into the world.

…But new, private maternity houses nearer to her home are being constructed all the time, you might say..and existing ones are constantly being upgraded with better, more modern equipment..

While true, all of this matters little when a woman applies to these places the question of how confident she feels about each one’s capacity to effectively manage the kinds of unexpected medical complexities that can arise during childbirth. For too many of these nearby centers her answer to this all-important question is–not very confident.

So how does an expectant Ukrainian mother make this very difficult decision?

She researches hospitals to the best of her ability from those she sees advertised, and chooses the one that inspires in her the highest degree of confidence.

But what is most important in actually ensuring the safe delivery of a newborn? Is it a beautiful building? Pleasantly painted walls? New beds? Shiny, modern equipment?

The truth is that the single most important factor in ensuring safe delivery and optimum health-of both mother and newborn child-is the skill level of those entrusted with their care. If the treatment team is not well-trained and practiced in the most current protocols for what should be done, both in the moments leading up to-as well as the crucial first minutes after-a newborn baby enters the world, no amount of modern medical equipment, or fancy facilities, can prevent the kinds of otherwise avoidable tragedies that can, and often do, occur during childbirth at the hands of less skilled caregivers.

In the back of every expectant Ukrainian mother’s mind is this fear; the fear of what could happen if those responsible for her care and that of her newborn are not so skilled. This, I believe, is why so many expectant mothers elect to give birth at large state-of-the-art perinatal centers far from home or venture abroad to give birth.

But imagine if every maternity hospital in Ukraine possessed teams of highly skilled obstetricians, neonatologists, anesthetists and nurses who worked together efficiently and applied the principles of evidence-based medicine. If this were the reality, there would be no need for Ukrainian women to give birth far from home.

So How Do We Achieve This?

Training is the key. As caregivers, we can each increase our level of skill by learning from those more expert than ourselves. And by sharing generously what we’ve learned, we can increase the level of expertise of our medical colleagues. This is how we build out a seamless network of first-rate maternity hospitals throughout Ukraine!

But how do we get there? The good news is that there are many smart, compassionate people who want children to be born healthy in their own hometowns who are working on just this question.

So, where do we begin? At the beginning-by identifying and defining the challenge. With the support of the Children’s Medical Care Foundation, Professor Maria Katarzyna Borszewska-Kornacka, President of the Polish Neonatal Society, conducted an analysis of the state of neonatal care delivery in the most prestigious perinatal centers in Ukraine. Deficiencies in care delivery were identified, and a detailed report with recommendations for how to address them was produced.

A Plan is Hatched

Knowing that not all of the recommended changes could be implemented immediately, an achievable first phase plan was developed.

Ukraine’s three best perinatal centers, in the cities of Kharkiv, Kiev and Zhytomyr, were selected as designated sites for a series of best practice trainings.

  • Training topics were discussed and tailored to the needs of the individual centers.
  • Former Children’s Medical Care Foundation Fellows were recruited to be trainers from some of the best neonatal clinics in the world.
  • Donated state-of-the-art medical equipment was secured for use in the trainings.

This pilot program is designed to be the ideal platform for practical, real time learning for a wide range of medical professionals and staff who play a role in the care of a newborn baby.

The first of these trainings, “Ventilation Support for Neonates”, took place on April 13, 2019 at Kharkiv Regional Perinatal Center. A number of Polish experts in the field of neonatology, Children’s Medical Care Foundation and the Ukrainian Ministry of Health partnered to produce this 2-day training, which was a resounding success.

Subsequent trainings in this series are expected to include simulations of a variety of clinical situations and access to real patients.

By involving the young and willing we can achieve the goal of a future where Ukrainian mothers feel confident giving birth close to home knowing that their newborns will be safe and healthy! Stay tuned for more information on the upcoming trainings.

Written by Dr. Zoryana Ivanyuk

CMCF Sponsors Participation of Ukrainian Delegation at Neonatus 2018


The Children’s Medical Care Foundation underwrote the participation of 8 neonatologists from across Ukraine at the 6th International Conference on Neonatal Care, NEONATUS 2018, held in Poznan, Poland, on October 10th & 11th of 2018. This training was taught by Professors Janusz Gadzinowski (in photo) and Janusz Mazela-both former recipients of CMCF Fellowship grants, themselves-who also chaired the conference’s Scientific Committee.

Members of the Ukrainian Delegation included:

  1. Tetyana Nalizhyta, Head of the department of Intensive Care of Newborns at Vinnitsa Regional Clinical Hospital n.a. N.I. Pirogov, Regional Perinatal Center.
  2. Olga Bykovska, Assistant professor at National Pyrogov Memorial Medical University, Vinnitsa Regional Clinical Hospital n.a. N.I. Pirogov, Regional Perinatal Center, NICU
  3. Maryna Goshuk, NICU, Kyiv Perinatal Center
  4. Yulia Klymchuk, NICU, Perinatal Center of the Poltava Regional Clinical Hospital N.V. Sklifosovsky
  5. Tetiana Holota, NICU, Kyiv Perinatal Center
  6. Oksana Malanchak, Neonatal Department, Lviv City Clinical Hospital N3
  7. Olha Vityk, Neonatal Department, Lviv City Clinical Hospital N3
  8. Oksana Ostalska, NICU, Lviv City Children’s Clinical Hospital

Ukrainian Pediatricians Participate in Minimally Invasive Endoscopic Surgery Training

The Children’s Medical Care Foundation sponsored the participation of 10 Ukrainian pediatric surgeons at a 2-day special course on minimally invasive surgical techniques that took place at the Aesculap Academy in the city of Nowy Tomysl, Poland, on June 6th & 7th, 2018. The training opportunity was conceptualized and taught by Professors-and former CMCF Fellowship awardees-Dariusz Patkowski and Piotr Czauderna. Patkowski, head of the Pediatric Surgery and Urology Department at Wroclaw University of Medicine, and Czauderna, Head of the Department of Surgery and Urology for Children and Adolescents at the Medical University of Gdansk, have shared generously what they have learned in their lengthy and distinguished medical careers, and personify the ethos of excellence-and international collaboration-CMCF aims to foster. Attendees were drawn from every region of Ukraine, extending CMCF’s impact beyond the Greater Lviv region for the first time in the foundation’s history.

Pediatric Surgeons From Eastern Ukraine Participate in 7th Annual Congress of the European Society of Pediatric Enoscopic Surgeons

The Children’s Medical Care Foundation sponsored the participation of eight pediatric surgeons from the Lugansk, Donetsk and Odessa regions of Eastern Ukraine at the 7th Annual Congress of the European Society of Pediatric Endoscopic Surgeons (ESPES) in Wroclaw, Poland, on September 27-29th, 2017.

This conference was chaired by Prof. Dariusz Patkowski, who heads the Pediatric Surgery and Urology Department at Wroclaw University of Medicine, and who himself benefited from CMCF-sponsored supplemental specialized medical training earlier in his distinguished medical career.

Distinguished surgeons from across Europe attended this conference, as did Vasyl Prytula, MD, PhD, Chief Pediatric Surgeon of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine.

CMCF Fellows in attendance included:

  1. Ievgen Mozhaiev – pediatric surgeon, assistant professor, Department of Surgery, Lugansk State Medical University, Severodonetsk Municipal Multiprofile Hospital, Severodonetsk, Lugansk region, Ukraine.
  2. Natalia Tereshchenko – pediatric surgeon, assistant professor, Department of Surgery, Lugansk State Medical University, Severodonetsk Municipal Multiprofile Hospital, Severodonetsk, Lugansk region, Ukraine.
  3. Sergiy Veselyy – pediatric surgeon, medical doctor, professor, head of the Department of Surgery and Pediatric Surgery, Donetsk National Medical University, Kramatorsk, Donetsk region, Ukraine.
  4. Oleg Yudin – pediatric surgeon, assistant of the Department of Surgery and Pediatric Surgery, Donetsk National Medical University, Kramatorsk, Donetsk region, Ukraine.
  5. Dmytro Samofalov – pediatric surgeon, associate professor of the Department of Pediatric Surgery, Odessa National Medical University, Odessa, Ukraine.
  6. Iona Dilanyan – pediatric surgeon, Deputy Chair of Pediatric Surgery, Odessa Regional Pediatric Hospital, Odessa, Ukraine.
  7. Anastasia Kvashnina – assistant professor, Department of Pediatric Surgery, Odessa National Medical University, Odessa, Ukraine.
  8. Sergii Pavlenko – pediatric surgeon, assistant professor, Department of Pediatric Surgery, Odessa National Medical University, Odessa, Ukraine.

We look forward to continuing this successful collaboration with our Ukrainian pediatric surgeons.





CMCF Board Member Organizes XXXIII International Symposium of the Polish Neonatal Society

Prof. Maria-Katarzyna Borszewska-Kornacka Delivering Opening Remarks at the Symposium

Prof. Maria Katarzyna Borszewska-Kornacka, President of the Polish Neonatal Society, and a member of CMCF’s Board of Directors since 1990, organized the XXXIII International Symposium of the Polish Neonatal Society, which took place on October 12-14 of 2017 in Krakow, Poland.

This outstanding medical convening brought together leading experts in the care of newborns from Poland, Ukraine, the United States, Germany, Italy, Austria, Switzerland and the United Kingdom to share the results of their leading edge research, discuss diagnostic protocols and debate current controversies in the field.

The Children’s Medical Care Foundation was proud to sponsor the participation of the following 10 Ukrainian neonatologists:

Prof. Yuriy Korzhynskyy
Hrystyna Zelizna
Yuriy Kuzminoff
Nataliya Blonar
Zoryana Ivanyuk
Andriy Bilous
Nataliya Myshchyshyn
Olha Kasperovych
Sehiy Fomin
Anzhelika Bysheva




CMCF Mourns Passing of Longtime Board Member

Longtime Children’s Medical Care Foundation Board Member Professor Michael P. Sherman passed away on September 22nd 2017.

Though extremely humble in demeanor, Professor Sherman was a towering figure in the field of Neonatology, whose contributions to its evolution spanned half of a century.

The expansiveness of his expertise was eclipsed only by his eagerness to share it. Generations of physicians became much better caregivers because of his teaching and mentorship-and countless children live healthier, fuller lives as a result.

Neither Children’s Medical Care Foundation, nor the field of Neonatology itself would be what it is today without the super-sized heart of this exceptional humanitarian.

Michael, you will live in our hearts and memories forever.

CMCF Board Member Honored for Excellence

Dr. Katrina Tesmer

2016 Physician of Excellence


Dr. Katrina Tesmer


Long-time CMCF Board member Dr. Katrina Tesmer was honored as an Orange County Physician of Excellence for the second straight year by the Orange County Medical Association.

Recipients of this prestigious award are nominated annually by their peers and patients for exemplifying the highest standards in health care provision, for the outstanding leadership qualities they exhibit, including the teaching and mentoring of younger physicians, and for their humanitarian service.

Dr. Tesmer is a neonatologist at Children’s Hospital of Orange County where she has practiced medicine for seventeen years and is Director of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and Chair of the Department of Pediatrics at Orange County Global Medical Center.

We congratulate Dr. Tesmer for this well deserved honor!

CMCF Board Member Receives Doctor Honoris Causa

Professor Michael P. Sherman

 Children’s Medical Care Foundation


Professor Michael P. Sherman

Doctor Honoris Causa


On November 18th, 2015, at the University of Medical Sciences in Poznan, world-renowned neonatologist and 29-year Children’s Medical Care Foundation (CMCF) Board Member, Professor Michael P. Sherman, was awarded the distinction of Doctor Honoris Causa by University Rector Hyacinth Wysocki.  More than 170 distinguished guests attended the ceremony, including the heads of most major Polish medical universities, colleagues and former fellows, many of whom now head Polish medical societies, and major medical departments.

Professor Sherman received the Doctor Honoris Causa award for his nearly three decades of dedication to the cause of improving infant and child care in Poland. He first joined CMCF’s Board of Directors in 1986 at a time when the infant mortality rate in Poland stood at a staggering 26 deaths per 1,000 live births, and neonatology was not yet a recognized medical specialty.

Later that year, Professor Sherman began the task of changing that when, in partnership with two Polish physicians, Professors Irena Twarowska and Janusz Gadzinowski, he organized the first ever Polish-American Neonatology Symposium at the Poznan University of Medical Sciences.

It’s easy to forget, but a big part of why Poland’s health care lagged so far behind United States was that it was just beginning to emerge from decades behind the Iron Curtain, where international information sharing, such an essential part of modern medicine, was virtually non-existent.

Professor Sherman was the first to open his medical department to CMCF-sponsored Polish Neonatology Fellows that same year, as an attending physician at UCLA’s world-leading Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, paving the way for many to follow.

With well over 100 published research studies to his credit, Professor Sherman is also one of the world’s foremost neonatology researchers, and an in-demand speaker at medical conferences and symposia worldwide.

Professor Sherman has shared his passion for research generously with an entire generation of Polish physicians, mentoring them through every step of the process, helping them not only to design their studies, but to write up the research results in a way that would pass muster with review boards-several of which he has served on over the years. Today, it is not uncommon to find pioneering research conducted by his former fellows in the most prestigious international medical journals.

CMCF’s long term objective has been to build international medical bridges, and one could hardly ask for a better ambassador than Professor Sherman. The partnerships he has made over the decades with Polish physicians have turned into lifelong friendships.

As recently as his acceptance speech, in which he described the honorary doctorate as “the distinction of a lifetime”, and which he accepted on all of our behalf, he rededicated himself to our CMCF shared mission.

Thanks to Professor Sherman’s many collaborators including doctors, researchers, donors and families a low birth weight child in Poland has just as good of a chance of living a normal life as an American one does.

The photographs below represent the formal ceremony and the published book detailing all of Professor Sherman’s publications and accomplishments.

The Board of Directors with gratitude thanks Dr. Michael P. Sherman for all he has done and congratulates him for receiving the Doctor Honoris Causa.

Sherman Honoris Causa Article in Polish MagazineSherman Honoris Causa Article in Polish Magazine1

Click here for larger text and images.

Honoris Causa Ceremony Program BookHonoris Causa Program Book Title Page


Bjoern Martinoff, President of Children’s Medical Care Foundation, Receives Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland

Bjoern Martinoff, long-time president of the Children’s Medical Care Foundation, (CMCF) a Los Angeles-based nonprofit organization that works to improve neonatal health care around the world, was awarded the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland in a ceremony held at the Royal Castle in Warsaw on October 23th, 2014.

Bestowed by the President of Poland, Bronislaw Komorowski, and presented by the Ambassador of Poland to France, Tomasz Orlowski, the the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland is the highest of all civilian honors, and recognizes contribution to international cooperation or cooperation between Poland and other countries.  The honor recognized Mr. Martinoff’s three decades of dedication to the cause of improving Polish pediatric care-nearly two decades of which at the helm of the organization.

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CMCF Partners to Help Take Lviv City Children’s Clinical Hospital to the Next Level

Children’s Medical Care Foundation has partnered with the California Association to Aid Ukraine to raise funds to support the realization of the first “Pediatric Emergency and Trauma Center in all of Ukraine, located at the Lviv City Children’s Clinical Hospital.  

Lviv City Children’s Clinical Hospital has steadily distinguished itself as a regional leader in pediatric care, and this Capital Campaign, with its preliminary budget estimate of $1.5 million, will fund renovation of four floors including associated furnishing and medical accessories.  Donated medical equipment has been secured. The first joint fundraising event is in the planning stages for early spring.

Donations are being accepted.

Shipment of Urgently Needed Medical Supplies and Equipment to Ukraine a Success


Laminar Case

LCCCH’s New Laminar Case for Sterile Infusions

The Lviv City Children’s Clinical Hospital is now better equipped to safely administer sterile infusions to its tiniest patients thanks to the delivery of a laminar case and a fresh supply of single-use medical supplies.

The delivery of these items was made possible by the hard work of Children’s Medical Care Foundation’s Board of Directors and the generosity of many donors and partner entities who have joined forces in an ongoing campaign aimed at bringing our 25-year partner’s medical inventories into parity with the skills and expertise of its staff, who are now regarded as the best trained in all of Ukraine.

The laminar case will help ensure that LCCCH’s littlest receive safe and sterile delivery of Total Parenteral Nutrition (TPN), antibiotics and other needed infusions, and stands to greatly reduce complications that often occur after peripheral vein access.

CMCF wishes to thank our goodwill partners, the California Association to Aid Ukraine (CAAU) and the Lions Club Gdansk Neptune, for their generous assistance in bringing this important upgrade into being. It was a true team effort that is already positively impacting patient care at LCCCH.

2015 CMCF/CAAU Day at the Races to Benefit Lviv City Children’s Clinical Hospital

Fund Raiser

On Sunday, June 14th, 2015, the Children’s Medical Care Foundation and the California Association to Aid Ukraine co-sponsored the 2015 Day at the Races to benefit the Lviv City Children’s Clinical Hospital.

2015 CAAU-CMCF Day at the Races

And They’re Off…

This event, held at the historic Santa Anita Park, brought together supporters, friends and family of these two partner organizations for an afternoon of great food, fancy headwear, friendly wagering and the thrill of watching nine separate races from a private section of the racetrack.

Photo of 2015 Day at the Races

Event Organizers Shannon Micevych of CAAU and Phil Brewster, Vice President of CMCF (in hats) and Friends

Proceeds will help realize the renovation of Lviv City Children’s Clinical Hospital into Ukraine’s first state-of-the-art pediatric emergency and trauma center with the ability to treat the nation’s most critical cases.

Special appreciation goes Shannon Micevych and Phil Brewster, long time Board Members of CAAU and CMCF for their co-organization of the event. And heartfelt thanks to all who came out for this fun afternoon in support of a very worthy cause.