About Us

Healing Hearts, One Gift at a Time

What We Do

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How The Process Works

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About the Founder

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About Us:

What We Do

The Equity in Heart Transplant Project (TEHTP) is a 501(c)(3) public charity that provides financial assistance to patients with end-stage heart failure who need a heart transplant. These are patients who medically qualify for a heart transplant but have a financial barrier. For example, some centers require patients to show proof that they can afford to pay for post-transplant costs and ask patients to fundraise anywhere from $5,000 to $10,000, a so-called “wallet biopsy”.

Some centers require patients to move closer to the transplant center for a certain amount of time post-transplant. Sometimes routine pre-transplant requirements such as dental work, for example, can be cost-prohibitive for some patients. Providing financial assistance to cover these costs is where our nonprofit comes in. We write grants to help patients address these social determinants of health, including housing, money for medication copayments, or any financial need such as childcare costs.

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We realize that our work is a temporary fix for a problem that is a symptom of much larger societal issues, including systemic racism, but . . . we have certainly made a difference in the lives of everyone we have helped get over a financial hump and get them on the transplant list. Centers do not list patients they do not think can succeed, and with our help, many patients will succeed. We are stewards of this precious gift and are forever grateful to organ donors and their families for their generosity. We want to ensure that a heart transplant is accessible to every single patient who needs one, regardless of their social circumstances.

The public and many legislators are unaware that patients can be turned down for a life-saving heart transplant based on a few thousand dollars. We hope our work will influence health policymakers to make changes to ensure more equitable transplantation.

In the future, we wish to expand our reach to other organ transplant patients and post-transplantation assistance. As Social Impact Activist Lovely Dhillon once said:

“Although we all aim to change the world, it starts with the little steps- the quality-of-life enhancements that we make for just one person, and how we make their life just a little bit better.”

About Us:

How the Process Works

We would like to acknowledge Prof. Arthur L. Caplan, a legendary bioethicist, for meeting with The Equity in Heart Transplant Project (TEHTP) team and advising us on how to incorporate fairness and justice in everything we do.

We provide financial assistance to any patient in the United States who needs a heart transplant.

We provide financial aid to patients who have not yet been listed for a heart transplant because of a financial barrier.

We require a detailed description of how the funds will be used to assist the patient in their transplant journey. We have provided grants to help pay insurance deductibles, medication copayments, housing, utilities, and transportation.

We are flexible with how grants are used, but we require an explanation for how the grant will set the patient up for success post-heart transplant.

Again, grants are only for pre-transplant patients currently.

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A patient’s healthcare team member must complete a Patient Assessment Request Form and send it to grants@TEHTP.com, along with any materials the team may think will help the board decide.

Grant applications are reviewed by the TEHTP Board of Directors, Senior Advisory Council, and volunteers during our monthly board meetings on the second Monday of each month.

If an application needs to be reviewed on a more urgent basis, we will try to accommodate this. The TEHTP Board of Directors votes on whether to fund each request. Each board member’s vote counts equally, and no other TEHTP staff/volunteers have voting privileges. The only exception to this rule is that the executive director will cast a vote if a tiebreaker is needed.

We want to help as many patients as possible but cannot help everyone. Our goal is to maximize the number of patients we assist.

We also want to ensure our grants are reasonable and will make a meaningful difference in the recipient’s life.

The executive director reviews every application before it goes before the board of directors. Our goal is to maximize the number of lives saved and the quality of life of those we help. We want to reduce the financial burden transplant patients and their families endure.

While we cannot help everyone, we want patients to know there are other regional and national potential sources of funding. The American Transplant Foundation and the United Network of Organ Sharing might be a good place to start. Patients can also crowdfund using platforms such as GoFundMe and Givebutter. We do not endorse these organizations; we merely provide suggestions.

Patient Assistance Request Form

About Us:

Meet the Founder:

Nasrien E. Ibrahim, MD, MPH

My name is Nasrien (pronounced NiSS-reen). I am the founder and executive director of The Equity in Heart Transplant Project (TEHTP). I am an advanced heart failure and transplant cardiologist, a researcher, and an unrelenting advocate for equitable healthcare. I founded TEHTP because of the stories that have haunted me of patients who were ineligible for a heart transplant because of financial difficulties. I couldn’t believe that in the United States, one of the wealthiest countries in the world, we let people with end-stage heart failure die sometimes based on just a few thousand dollars. People don’t always realize that while you may medically qualify for being listed for a heart transplant, many other things factor into the decision about whether you will be listed.

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In some cases, patients are asked to show proof of a certain amount of money, i.e., a “wallet biopsy”, that will cover copayments and post-transplant care, or they might be asked to move closer to the transplant center for a few months post-transplant or show proof of owning a vehicle for reliable transportation. I get that, as transplant physicians, we are stewards of this precious resource, and we must ensure that whoever receives this incredible gift is able to take excellent care of it. But our healthcare system is flawed, and patients unable to afford a heart transplant based solely on financial barriers deserve a second chance at life too. Poverty should not be a death sentence. So instead of being angry about a system that fails the most vulnerable among us, I channeled my energy into founding TEHTP. The unexpected death of one of my childhood best friends, Mennatallah Ali Yehia, on February 17th, 2022, ignited the fire I needed to take the first step. TEHTP was born on May 4th, 2022.

My siblings have been my guiding light…

…pushing me from idea to reality. We built TEHTP together, and they have been by my side every day ever since. We hope to help as many patients as possible and that our work influences changes in health policy to make transplantation more equitable, and we hope TEHTP will be our family’s legacy long after we are gone. Mustafa Ibrahim, Ph.D., MS, Omer E. Ibrahim, MD, Rania E. Ibrahim, Ph.D., MS, and my brother-in-law David J. Cook, MD serve as my personal (and non-voting) board of directors. They keep me grounded and hold me accountable and remind me, when needed, why we built TEHTP.

I handpicked everyone involved in the leadership of TEHTP because of their commitment to ensuring every patient who needs a heart transplant receives one regardless of their social circumstances. Their passion, unwavering support, and their holding me accountable keeps me going on my toughest days. I am forever grateful for this Dream Team.

Mustafa Ibrahim, Ph.D., MS

Omer E. Ibrahim, MD

Rania E. Ibrahim, Ph.D., MS

David J. Cook, MD

“… and whoever saves a life, it is as if they saved all of humanity…”

Quran 5:32

“Blessed is he who considers the poor; the Lord will deliver him in time of trouble.”

Psalms/Tehillim 41:2

“Those who are gracious to the poor lend to the Lord, and the Lord will fully repay them.”

Proverbs 19:17

“…Dedicate your charity for the pleasure of God.”

Bhagavad Gita 17.20

“True charity occurs only when there are no notions of giving, giver, or gift.”

Gautama Buddha

Meet our Founders, Council, and Volunteers!

The Founding Board members were selected by the Founder and Executive Director of The Equity in Heart Transplant Project. Terms are 3 years long and are renewable once. Founding board member terms began on September 1, 2022. If you wish to be considered for a future board position when one becomes available, please send a cover letter and your CV/resume to nasrien@TEHTP.com.

Board of DirectorsSenior Advisory CouncilAmbassadorsStudent Ambassadors

Saad S. Ahmad, MD

Board Member

Tariq Ahmad, MD, MPH

Board Member

Deu Almeida, DrPH, MBA

Board Member

Janae Baker, PharmD

Board Member

Saraa Basaria, Esq

Board Member (Patient Representative)

Dennis Byrd Jr, BA

Board Member

Robert T. Cole, MD

Board Member

Johanna P. Contreras, MD

Board Member

Jonathan D. Davis, MD, MPHS

Board Member

Ersilia M. DeFilippis, MD

Board Member

Maghee Disch MSN, RN

Board Member

Meaghan E. Doucette, CNP

Board Member

Erick Martínez Juárez, MD

Board Member

​​Jacquie Jean, MSW, LCSW

Board Member

Matthew Lander, MD

Board Member

Ryan C. Marable, PharmD

Board Member

Eriberto Michel, MD

Board Member

Sheneal Parker, PhD

Board Member

Mitch A. Psotka, MD, PhD

Board Member

Dan Roth

Board Member (Patient Representative)

Carlos G. Santos-Gallego, MD

Board Member

Dia A. Smiley, DO

Board Member

Allyson Wilkinson, Esq

Board Member

We’re just getting started!