The Heineman Foundation and the Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery at Carolinas Medical Center have had longstanding relations with the Department of Cardiac Surgery and Cardiology at the University of Budapest, Hungary.

Initially we supplied them with equipment such as a heart-lung machine, anesthesia equipment, surgical instruments, vascular grafts, etc. Soon, however, the emphasis shifted to providing high level training opportunities for Hungarian surgeons at Carolinas Medical Center. The president professor of cardiac surgery, Professor Istvan Tomcsanyi, received his cardiac surgical training as a fellow in thoracic and cardiovascular surgery at our Department. About a dozen Hungarian thoracic surgeons spent various intervals at our institution as visiting surgeons ranging from two weeks to three months.

The faculty at Carolinas Medical Center regularly participated in scientific meetings in Hungary, and the Heineman Foundation provided travel grants each year for Hungarian surgeons to attend a leading specialty meeting in the United States. Currently, Hungary is one of the leaders in cardiac surgery in Eastern Europe. The connection between Budapest and Charlotte contributed significantly to this endeavor.