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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 to care is a shortage of human resources for health. Our experience has shown us that extending professional development and education 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 leadership 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 are given the opportunity to expand their leadership skills by participating in an Operation Smile regional experience (dependent on applicant’s current country protocols and Operation Smile’s current guidelines), a quarterly leadership webinar series focusing on non-technical skills, a conference, a specialty specific mentorship group, and other optional components such as Global Surgery Bootcamp and one on one mentorship opportunities. This program provides the unique opportunity to develop leadership and professional skills, collaborate within a diverse care team (when regional experience is permitted), 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 participate in a quarterly leadership webinar series, a specialty specific mentorship group, an Operation Smile conference, and attend a regional medical program (the regional medical program experience is not guaranteed at this time).
  • Medical program placements will be made on a case-by-case basis throughout the year dependent on applicant’s current country protocols and Operation Smile’s current guidelines.
  • Accepted applicants must commit to the program by June 30, 2021.


  • Applications open April 15, 2021 through the Volunteer Portal. Residents must complete the “Resident Leadership Application” listed under “Medical Specialty”. * Please be sure to select the “Resident Leadership Program” application instead of your specific specialty! *
  • Applications close May 31, 2021 at 5:00 pm Eastern Standard Time.
  • Applicants will be notified of application decisions by June 30, 2021 and subsequently provided with more information on the program.


  • 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, leadership, humanitarianism and volunteer service.
  • Commitment to regular communication and participation with your assigned specialty mentorship group throughout the year, familiarization with Operation Smile’s Medical Global Standards of Care, and completion of self-evaluations while participating in a medical program (if applicable) 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.

Applicants will receive updates on their applications through their country point of contact.




It takes as little as $240 and as few as 45 minutes to provide life-changing surgery and a bright, beautiful new smile to a waiting child.