Dr Ari Horton
Paediatric cardiology fellow
How and when did you become involved in East Timor Hearts Fund?
As a paediatric cardiac specialist I was asked to join East Timor Hearts Fund’s volunteer medical team to improve the capacity for care of children and education of local staff and families. Since participating in my first screening visit to Timor-Leste in 2017 I have become passionate about this work and have visited Timor-Leste numerous times. It has been eye-opening to see the vast health differences between Australia and its neighbour, as well as the absolute spirit, determination and joy of the Timorese people.
What does your role entail?
I look after the heart health of children up to 18 years old. I specialise in congenital and inherited heart disease for all ages, as well as having a specific interest in rheumatic heart disease. I like to get to know the patients and their families and I support them to control symptoms, improve quality of life and, if possible, have surgery in Australia.
I'm involved in clinical research, the penicillin program and follow-up of rheumatic heart disease patients. I firmly believe in education, capacity building, empowerment and collaboration with local services and I enjoy supporting local teams to further develop their skills.
What are your passions and interests outside work?
I am a keen photographer and like capturing the unique moments and people that make a day special. I am obsessed with good food and good coffee. I like making kids and families laugh. I remind myself every day that medicine is an art, we are all human, and each of us deserves a chance to make our dreams come true.