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HomeNovick, William

International Humanitarian Honoree
Dr. William Novick, MD MS
Founder and Medical Director of the William Novick Cardiac Alliance


William Novick, MD MS

Paul Nemir Endowed Professor of Surgery and International Child Health
at the University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center

Over the past twenty-four years, pediatric heart surgeon Dr. William Novick and his non-profit medical teams have performed over 8,500 pediatric heart surgeries in more than 30 countries worldwide including in places like Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Macedonia, Morocco, and Russia. “You’ll never be able to give away heart surgeries to kids around the world, Bill. There’s no money in that.” This is what then-resident Dr. Novick’s faculty adviser told him when he got back from his first overseas heart surgery trip. But Dr. Novick knew that this is what he was born to do. He saw that children around the world couldn’t wait for wars to end, governments to invest in healthcare, or economies to turn around. The kids couldn’t wait, and neither could he.

In 1998, Dr. Novick performed the first open-heart surgery in Bosnia, and in 1999, was operating in Belgrade when NATO bombing began during the Kosovo conflict. He has been awarded four presidential medals since 2002 from the Republics of Croatia, Belarus, Nicaragua, and Ukraine. He was awarded the Frederique Constant Passion Award in 2007. Dr. Novick was featured in the 2003 Oscar-winning documentary Chernobyl Heart, and invited to speak to the General Assembly of the United Nations about the effects of the Chernobyl radiation disaster.

Dr. Novick is a graduate of University of Alabama School of Medicine and completed his General Surgical Residency at the Graduate Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania before entering the Cardiothoracic Residency at the University of Alabama in Birmingham. He completed the cardiothoracic program and remained for two years as Congenital Cardiac Fellow.

After two years as the sole pediatric cardiac surgeon at Arnold Palmer Hospital for Women and Children, he joined the faculty at the University of Tennessee as a pediatric cardiac surgeon where he was made the Paul Nemir Professor of Surgery and International Child Health in 1999.

A member of the Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS), European Association for Cardio-Thoracic Surgery (EACTS), Southern Thoracic Surgical Association (STSA), World Society for Pediatric and Congenital Heart Surgery (WSPCHS), Dr. Novick also serves on the Executive Committee of the International Quality Improvement Collaborative (IQIC).

He has authored multiple papers on congenital heart disease, contributed to several books on pediatric heart disease, intensive care and thoracic trauma, as well as co-authored the book Healing the Heart of Croatia.


Dr. Novick lives in Memphis with his wife Elizabeth and two sons, Nicholas and Jackson. His older children are enrolled in the University of Alabama (Celena), the University of Alabama-Birmingham (Bryant) and his oldest child is an artist living in Birmingham (Alessandra).


In 1993, he created a foundation to care for children in the developing world. He had seen the disparities in healthcare between children in the developed and developing world and had a vision that every child born with heart disease should have access to the care they need to live a long and healthy life.


Dr. Novick believes that teaching and organizing local healthcare teams to perform surgery and care for children with complex heart defects is just as important as performing lifesaving heart surgery himself. As a pioneer in this field, he realized early on that helping local teams build and sustain a pediatric heart surgery service would be the only way to provide real hope to children suffering from treatable heart defects. Most countries Dr. Novick visits receive a sustained repeated pattern of assistance including two to four visits per year for at least three years, with 90% of such programs now performing independent pediatric cardiac surgery.


Over the years, Dr. Novick recruited a group of clinical experts in the field of pediatric cardiac care who shared his passion and vision to help eradicate the suffering caused by congenital heart disease in the developing world. In October 2014, this group of dedicated professionals came together in support of their natural leader and formed the William Novick Global Cardiac Alliance. Together Dr. Novick and his global charity continue to work in any corner of the world where their services are needed, bringing real hope and healing to so many children and families.

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