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About Us

The executive staff of Rheumatic Relief began their efforts to alleviate suffering from rheumatic heart disease (RHD) in 2009. The program grew to include a collaboration with UVU in 2011 (Rheumatic Rescue). In 2016 a new program, Rheumatic Relief, which is housed exclusively at BYU, was established. This program has flourished to become a viable clinical, educational, and research program with the potential of saving the lives of hundreds of children as well as influencing clinical protocol for diagnosis of RHD and contributing to important breakthroughs in understanding of the genetics of risk for RHD. To date we have served the children of Samoa.

Our Mission

The mission of Rheumatic Relief is to reduce the burden of childhood rheumatic heart disease through
Health Promotion & Education
Echocardiographic Screening & Follow-up
Genetics Research
Rheumatic Relief (RR) is a coordinative effort that combines scientific disciplines to create a comprehensive program capable of effecting change and generating new and insightful information relative to RHD. The children we find that are sick usually don’t realize there is a reason for their symptoms, nor do they realize that the disease is life threatening. With the help from our volunteers and donors, we can intervene and help these children lead relatively normal lives. Our program can be viewed as a major research project, an awareness campaign, and a humanitarian effort because we are tackling this problem from all angles. Because of this, and with your help, we can fulfill our aim to decrease rheumatic heart disease worldwide.

Rheumatic Heart Disease

RR children

According to the World Heart Federation, rheumatic heart disease (RHD) is “the most common acquired heart disease in children in many countries of the world, especially in developing countries,” and “is responsible for about 233,000 deaths annually,” ( The disease is most commonly acquired by children ages 5 to 15 years. Environmental risk factors include crowding, poor hygiene, under nutrition, and lack of access to health care...More

A Collaborative Effort

Students from Brigham Young University, along with their instructors, have the opportunity of implementing and refining an education program to share with children and their caregivers. The program draws attention to the seriousness of a sore throat and outlines the appropriate actions to be taken. A team of echocardiograph technicians, led by a board certified cardiologist, complete the program by offering free echo screenings for the children. The involvement with and oversight of the rheumatic program by indigenous nurses, doctors and governmental health agencies has been, and will continue to be, essential to the overall success of the program.

RR clinic 2.jpeg