VIRGINIA BEACH -- Global leaders who spearhead Operation Smile medical programs around the world will convene in Virginia Beach on May 22 for the NEXT Global Summit: Where Medical Innovation Meets Human Inspiration. Participants will share on-the-ground experiences and expert opinions to provide greater insight into the patient perspective and opportunities for innovation with a focus on advancing surgical capabilities. The goal of the summit will be to analyze Operation Smile programs and come to a consensus on the adoption of innovative solutions to providing safe, well-timed and effective surgery with specific attention to the barriers to care that patients often face.
"Operation Smile is committed to achieving continued excellence in patient care, because at the end of the day, we treat every child like our own," said Kathy Magee, President of Operation Smile. Magee, along with her husband, Operation Smile CEO Dr. Bill Magee, co-founded the organization in 1982.
During the summit, Dr. Magee will perform a cleft palate surgery on a 10-month-old girl that will be live streamed from Children's Hospital of King's Daughters in Norfolk, Va., to the conference at the Sheraton Virginia Beach Oceanfront Hotel. The exchange of knowledge throughout the complex two-hour surgery is part of Operation Smile's efforts to build the surgical capacity of their local medical personnel.
"It is a unique occasion to have our global medical leadership team together and we have an important opportunity to advance how Operation Smile delivers surgical care globally," said Dr. Magee. "The shared passion and commitment that emerges from all of our combined experiences will result in relevant solutions that increase access to surgical care and ensure that no child has to live with a correctable facial deformity," he concluded.
In addition to Dr. Magee's palate technique training, Operation Smile's NEXT Global Summit begins with MediCon; the first-ever series of medical training courses organized by Operation Smile in partnership with leading universities and medical schools across the country. Five customized, hands-on training courses will be simultaneously conducted between May 18 and May 21 at the Keck School of Medicine of University of Southern California, Eastern Virginia Medical School, Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Pennsylvania, and George Washington University in the District of Columbia. These free courses will provide 115 medical professionals from 25 countries with specialized training in surgical flap procedures, ultrasound diagnostics and enhanced anesthesia techniques.
On May 23, one of the highlights of the Summit will be Johnson & Johnson Chairman and CEO Alex Gorsky in discussion with Dr. Bill Magee on the topic of "Building a Global Philanthropic Enterprise." Johnson & Johnson has provided more than $25 million in monetary and product donations since 1988 and in 2015 committed to new contributions of $25 million over the next five years.
In anticipation of the gathering, Gorsky said, "I am delighted to join this committed group of global health leaders for a discussion about how public-private partnerships can create change in the places that need it most by sharing resources to elevate safe surgical care and make it more accessible to patients in need around the world."
Also on May 23, Hennglise Dorival, a World Care patient from Haiti, reunites with her Operation Smile family. Dorival, 18, came to Virginia in 2014 for surgery to have a four pound tumor removed and is back for additional surgical revisions. Larry P. O'Reilly, Vice-Chairman of the Board for O'Reilly Automotive, Inc., worked tirelessly for 18 months to make Dorival's initial trip to the U.S. for surgery possible. O'Reilly remains her champion and will introduce her to the NEXT Global Summit audience.
"I cannot imagine what my life would be like without the gift of surgery from Operation Smile and its volunteers and supporters," said Dorival, who is now attending school and is no longer afraid to leave her house.
NEXT Global Summit represents a small fraction of Operation Smile's global network of thousands of volunteers, both medical and non-medical, who make its work possible. Last year 3,000 medical professionals representing 63 countries donated 364,932 hours valued at $28 million to provide nearly 15,000 surgeries.
Among the non-medical volunteers attending the Summit will be Alex Guerrero, a Honduran father whose son received surgery from Operation Smile. Guerrero was so grateful that he now serves as a volunteer traveling the countryside in search of patients living with clefts, bringing them to the Operation Smile center in Tegucigalpa to receive treatment and then accompanying them back to their homes. The NEXT Global Summit provides an opportunity for Operation Smile's network to learn about Guerrero's work and how it can serve as a model for new strategies for patient recruitment in other countries.
About Operation Smile
Operation Smile is an international medical charity that has provided hundreds of thousands of free surgeries for children and young adults in developing countries who are born with cleft lip, cleft palate or other facial deformities. It is one of the oldest and largest volunteer-based organizations dedicated to improving the health and lives of children worldwide through access to surgical care. Since 1982, Operation Smile has developed expertise in mobilizing volunteer medical teams to conduct surgical missions in resource-poor environments while adhering to the highest standards of care and safety. Operation Smile helps to fill the gap in providing access to safe, well-timed surgeries by partnering with hospitals, governments and ministries of health, training local medical personnel, and donating much-needed supplies and equipment to surgical sites around the world. Founded and based in Virginia, U.S., Operation Smile has extended its global reach to more than 60 countries through its network of credentialed surgeons, pediatricians, doctors, nurses, and student volunteers. For more information, visit www.operationsmile.org.