Keith Flachsbart, MD

“On one of my trips with Heart to Heart, I performed open heart surgery on a gentleman who came back to the hospital the next year – simply to bring me a wrapped gift. It turned out to be a clock, the perfect reminder that modern heart care provides the gift of time. I keep the clock in my bedroom.”


Dr. Flachsbart joined the Heart to Heart governing board in 2002 and was elected President in 2010. His first experience with Heart to Heart, in 2000, was performing pro bono cardiac surgery in St. Petersburg for adults with acquired and congenital heart disease. (As Heart to Heart’s children’s program in St. Petersburg was progressing toward self-sustainability, the Ministry of Public Health there asked Heart to Heart to help develop a comparable program for adults.) Over the past decade, Dr. Flachsbart has volunteered on several Heart to Heart surgical-educational missions to Adult Hospital No. 2 in St. Petersburg – now one of Russia’s leading heart programs for adults.

In 2006 and in 2011, Dr. Flachsbart joined our teams in Samara and Rostov-on-Don to evaluate progress toward self-sustainability at these Heart to Heart sites at the mid-point of their seven-year development cycle.

Dr. Flachsbart is also committed to another international humanitarian aid program, run by the Albanian Health Fund. He has volunteered on many teaching missions in Albania as part of a multi-disciplinary team of doctors, nurses, and dentists. In terms of modernization and the opening up of communications, he has seen huge progress in Albania.

Dr. Flachsbart began his career as a cardiac surgeon in Wisconsin, operating on both adults and children. He moved to Northern California when he and a colleague were given the opportunity to establish Kaiser Permanente Medical Center’s first cardiac surgery program in San Francisco. After serving as Chief of Cardiac Surgery for ten years, he is currently Chief Emeritus, Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery at the Center. The Kaiser Permanente health plan takes care of three million people living in Northern California.