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We are big believers in taking it to the next level, by making sure our patients are supported with high quality, multi-disciplinary care for years afterwards”
—Dr. Usama Hamdan, President, Global Smile Foundation
In 1992, when she was just a baby, Iliana had the corrective facial surgery that gave her the warm, beautiful smile she wears so confidently today.
Now a young adult, Iliana is one of thousands of patients who have benefited from the transformative work of medical teams that travel to impoverished communities worldwide, supported by AmeriCares Medical Outreach Program.
Twenty years later, Iliana is still in touch with Dr. Usama Hamdan and the team of doctors and specialists that changed her life – because they return to underserved communities, including Guayaquil, Ecuador, where she was treated, to provide comprehensive cleft surgery and follow-up care.
“Our team treats up to 500 patients each year, but it’s more than just the number of surgeries we perform — we are big believers in taking it to the next level, by making sure our patients are supported with high quality, multi-disciplinary care for years afterwards,” said Dr. Hamdan, President of Global Smile Foundation.
Since 1991, our Medical Outreach Program has supported more than 40 trips by Dr. Hamdan and his medical teams with anesthesia, antibiotics and other supplies needed to successfully operate on approximately 5,000 cleft lip and palate patients in nine countries worldwide. Medical teams on each trip include surgeons, anesthesiologists, nurses, pediatricians, dentists, dental hygienists, counselors, medical coordinators, and volunteers.
Children born with cleft lip, cleft palate and other craniofacial disorders face numerous medical challenges beyond appearance — including airway, feeding, hearing and speech problems, as well as social and psychological challenges.
“Our team combines medical expertise with compassionate care that addresses not just the physical, but also the emotional needs of our patients,” explained Dr. Hamdan. He recalled the story of one young patient, Diego who, like Iliana, had surgery in Ecuador as a child. “Diego was recently asked to speak at a local football game. He stood up in the crowd and spoke flawlessly. It’s gratifying that our team gave him the ability to move forward with his life.”
Photo Courtesy of Global Smile Foundation, All Rights Reserved
Smiling, confident young adults—20 years after surgery
Global Smile Foundation shared several photos of young adults who, as babies, had corrective cleft lip and palate surgeries supported by our Medical Outreach Program. “Although we often receive before-and-after photos, we rarely have the opportunity to view patients 20 years later as smiling, confident adults,” explained Cia Marion, Director of AmeriCares Medical Outreach Program. “Because of the continuity of care that the Global Smile team provides, we can see the powerful impact this work has had on the lives of these young people.”
Global Smile Foundation is a Massachusetts not-for-profit corporation. The founding members are a group of dedicated volunteers and medical professionals who have been actively involved with global outreach programs for the last 25 years in countries in Latin America, Africa and the Indian Subcontinent.
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