Fundahigado America



At FundaHigado America we are committed to provide training, education and counseling to local healthcare staff in pediatric liver transplantation by living donor in Latin American and Caribbean.

We offer training and assessment by the hand of our first-level healthcare professionals in pediatric liver transplantation, to local medical staff in the institutions where they work.

During the training process for local medical staff, FHA doctors offer first-level medical care to children that require this type of treatment

This project gives a chance for pediatric patients suffering from liver diseases. It represents an alternative which provides timely and accessible treatments for these children and their families in Latin America and the Caribbean.

FundaHigado America training and educational program for local medical staff is expected to be completed 3 years after its commencement date. By then, pediatric liver transplantation by living donor programs are expected to operate on their own.

Thanks to the training program carried out by FundaHigado America, dozens of children have an opportunity to live. So is the case in Venezuela, where since 2001 a sustainable transplantation program has been established. Being the only transplantation program in that country.

In FundaHigado America we work to Bring Hope to all the children in LatinAmerica and the Caribbean.


In the year 1990 Dr. Pedro A. Rivas Vetencourt was accepted in the University of Illinois at Chicago and began his training as Transplant Surgeon. Out of the vast universe in medicine, he had already discovered his interest in transplant techniques. This had occurred during his intern years in the emblematic Hospital Universitario de Caracas.

In 1992 he was given the opportunity to formally participate in the first liver transplant surgery practiced in Venezuela. This is where the first efforts took place and which later led him to establish the milestones of the first permanent liver transplantation program in Venezuela.

In the year 2000 the beginning of a new century would bring a non-profit organization called the Metropolitan Program of Liver Transplantation – FundaHígado to life, which would mark a new milestone in the history of Venezuelan Medicine.

In the year 2004 Dr Tomoaki Kato, one of the most renowned specialists in organ transplants and Dr. Pedro A. Rivas met. This approach pays off on April 19th, 2005 when they both established a precedent in Venezuela by performing the first pediatric liver transplant with a 100% success. They began a program that has served to this date to hundreds of patients who have gained a new chance in life thanks to this program.

Thanks to the experience obtained in Venezuela in 15 years of activity, the bases were established so that in the year 2011 Fundahigado America was officially created, in order to replicate the program in other countries of the region, we have now had approaches with a number of countries such as Peru, Guatemala and the Dominican Republic who have expressed their desire to install the program, and conversations are being made between government agencies, hospital centers and local medical authorities for that purpose.


Pedro R. Vetencourt


Tomoaki Kato


Kristie Pellechia

Board Member

Marco Monroy

Board Member

Carolina Herrera

Honorary Member

Mercedes Martínez

Board Member

Maria C. Cardenas

Board Member


Fundahigado America Foundation focuses on initiating successful pediatric transplant programs in Latin American countries. The Foundation is organized exclusively for charitable and scientific purposes. It promotes efforts to train healthcare professionals in areas of America where this option does not exist currently, in order to help provide medical treatment for liver diseases including liver transplantation.

  1. Fundahigado America constitutes a non-profit organization with the primary purpose of training health care professionals from countries of Central America, South America and the Caribbean, where the option of pediatric liver transplantation is not currently available.

  2. The foundation also seeks to provide advice on the identification of hospitals suitable for implementing a complex program such as transplantation.

  3. It will assist and guide the process of forming multidisciplinary teams to care, evaluate and follow up on the patients, facilitating protocol evaluation and management to ensure the success of this medical therapy.death at early age, bringing devastating consequence to the family structure. Fortunately liver transplantation can cure these children from liver disease.


Our program focuses on two main objectives:

Making access to liver transplantation possible in pediatric liver patients in targeted countries for this phase such as Peru, Guatemala and Dominican Republic. Improve the care, treatment and control of pediatric patients suffering from liver disease that do not need liver transplantation

The implementation of this program has 4 factors which address key aspects that determine its success.