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Regan Resident Leadership Program

Building the Next Generation of Leaders in Comprehensive Cleft Care

We believe that training health care workers is essential for addressing the global lack of access to surgery, that extends to 5 billion people and disproportionately affects those in low-and middle-income countries (LMICs). Driving the global lack of access is a shortage of human resources for health. Our experience has shown us that extending professional development and education and training opportunities for the next generation of health care workers is imperative to driving progress in LMICs, where nine out of ten people lack access to essential surgical care.

The Regan Resident Leadership Program, supported by the Harbourton Foundation, plays a pivotal role in increasing the capacity and skills of senior residents specializing in surgery, anesthesiology and pediatrics and empowering them to deliver high-quality care to those who need it most.

Through the program, senior residents have the opportunity to volunteer on an Operation Smile medical mission, conference and workshop. This provides the unique opportunity to develop professional skills, collaborate within a diverse care team, and connect to a global community through shared learning and collaboration, all while bringing high-quality care to people living with cleft lip, cleft palate, and other surgical conditions around the world.

Program Details

  • One-year fellowship during the resident’s senior year. During the fellowship, residents will attend a medical program and conference with Operation Smile.
  • Medical program placements are made on a rolling basis throughout the year.
  • Participation in medical programs generally requires 10 days including travel.
  • Accepted applicants must commit to attending one medical mission before June 31, 2021.


  • Applications open April 1, 2020 through the Global Volunteer Management System. Residents must complete the “Resident Leadership Application” listed under “Medical Specialty”.
  • Applications close May 31, 2020 at 5:00 pm Eastern Standard Time.
  • Applicants will be notified of application decisions by June 30, 2020 and subsequently provided more information on the program, medical mission attendance and conference information.


  • Residents must be entering their senior year of anesthesia, pediatrics or plastic and reconstructive surgery residency. Additional cleft-care specific specialties like oral maxillofacial surgery will also be considered.
  • Approval from the resident’s Residency Program Director. Please note, your Program Director and references may be contacted as part of the application process.
  • Residents must demonstrate an interest in global medicine, humanitarianism and volunteer service.
  • Commitment to regular communication with your assigned mentor throughout the year, familiarization with Operation Smile’s Medical Global Standards of Care, and completion of self-evaluations while participating in a medical program and conference.
  • Letter of recommendation from resident’s Residency Program Director, Operation Smile Volunteer or residency program faculty.
  • Completed application submitted before the deadline, including the following documents.
  • Residency Program Director Written Approval. Template can be found here.
    • Letter of recommendation from resident’s Residency Program Director, Operation Smile Volunteer or residency program faculty.
    • A current CV translated into English.
    • Diploma, degrees, license and applicable certifications.


  • Residents may be required to pay for a background check. The cost for your background check will vary by your residence. The base rate is $23 (USD) per request, plus any location-specific fees.
  • Mission and conference-related expenses, such as airfare, meals and lodging, are generously funded by the Harbourton Foundation.
  • Any personal expenses incurred during mission or conference travel are not covered under program funding.

Applicants will receive updates on their applications through the Global Volunteer Management System and if accepted, will utilize this system for mission preparation tasks and to find pertinent resources related to the program.

The Regan Resident Leadership Program gave me the chance to fulfill my dreams and develop my surgical skills. I had the honor of making some children smile and of meeting great surgeons from all over the world.

- Zaid Al-Ali, oral maxillofacial surgery resident, Jordan 2020

It was great to work with other medical professionals from all over the world and learn more about how things are done differently in countries other than my own. It was such an opportunity to have met a child life specialist and worked alongside Kristina Silfvenius from Sweden. In my institution we do not have child life specialists, Kristina sent me some great academic resources and pictures from her hospital, which together with using my Operation Smile experience, made my academic presentation to our entire anaesthetic department a great success.

- Suleen Van Vuuren, anesthesiology resident, South Africa 2020

I saw children who went into the theater and came back looking amazing in less than an hour. I watched parents cry tears of joy with each child that came out of the theater. I never looked back. Indeed, this was the best way to give back.

- Emmanuella Amoako, pediatric resident, Ghana 2016