NORFOLK, VA (PRWEB) November 28, 2006
The Co-founders of Operation Smile Inc., Dr. William P. Magee Jr. and Kathleen Magee, announced today that Operation Smile will commemorate its 25th Anniversary beginning November 2006 with a year-long, multi-faceted series of initiatives to promote sustainability and capacity-building among its 25 mission countries. Key anniversary initiatives include a plan to implement Global Standards of Care for all Operation Smile missions; launch of multiple Comprehensive Care Centers around the globe; organization of international forums on medical diplomacy; and the World Journey of Smiles, simultaneous medical missions in 25 countries that in one week will treat an estimated 5,000 children with facial deformities.
Operation Smile was founded in 1982 by Dr. Bill Magee, a plastic surgeon, and his wife, Kathy, a nurse and clinical social worker, following a trip to the Philippines with a group of medical volunteers to repair children's cleft lips and cleft palates. Although they helped many children, the volunteers were forced to turn away hundreds who sought help due to a lack of resources.
Today, Operation Smile is a worldwide children's medical charity, whose network of global volunteers are dedicated to helping improve the health and lives of children and young adults. In addition to contributing free medical treatment for children born with cleft lips, cleft palates and other facial deformities, Operation Smile trains local medical professionals in its 25 partner countries and leaves behind crucial equipment to lay the groundwork for long-term self-sufficiency.
According to Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Dr. Magee: "For every child we treat we know there are a hundred more that are in need and deserving of this life-changing surgery. As we mark the milestone of 25 years of treating children worldwide, we are using this occasion to find new and innovative ways to promote sustainable development in our partner countries. By strengthening infrastructure, providing equipment, training and expertise, we are building capacity for the future and creating a new model of self-sufficiency among partner nations that can continue to improve lives and health conditions long after our mission team leaves."
For its anniversary year, Operation Smile announces a plan to implement Global Standards of Care for all of its medical programs as a commitment to ensuring that every patient treated by Operation Smile will benefit from the same sophisticated equipment, procedures, and highly trained and credentialed medical staff, no matter where they receive care around the world.
Comprehensive Care Centers will be opened in Colombia, Honduras, Morocco, China, India, the Philippines and Vietnam to provide surgical treatment and post-operative follow-up for thousands of additional patients, especially those in remote areas. The Centers will also help train medical volunteers, strengthen local development and fundraising activities and provide on-going administrative support for in-country activities.
As part of its ongoing effort to create a global humanitarian network to bring healing to the world's children, Operation Smile will also host international forums on medical diplomacy.
The year-long anniversary celebration will culminate in November 2007, with the World Journey of Smiles, 40 simultaneous missions in 25 countries, with a goal of providing new smiles and new lives for an estimated 5,000 children living with facial deformities.
About Operation Smile (http://www.operationsmile.org/)
Founded in 1982, Operation Smile, headquartered in Norfolk, Virginia, is a worldwide children's medical charity dedicated to helping improve the health and lives of children and young adults. Since its founding, Operation Smile has treated more than 100,000 children with facial deformities and provided education and training to physicians and other healthcare professionals around the world. Partner countries include: Bolivia, Brazil, Cambodia, China, Colombia, Ecuador, Egypt, Ethiopia, Gaza Strip/West Bank, Honduras, India, Jordan, Kenya, Mexico, Morocco, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, the Philippines, Russia, South Africa, Thailand, Venezuela, and Vietnam. Operation Smile also provides a network of resources to assist families in the U.S. with children born with facial deformities. Accessed through the Operation Smile Web site, the network includes a listing of Referral Web Sites and a Physicians Resource List. Thousands of students in more than 450 Operation Smile Student Associations worldwide build awareness, raise funds and educate thousands of students about the values of commitment, leadership and volunteerism, instilling in them for life the importance of giving to others. Student volunteers raise an estimated $600,000 annually for Operation Smile. At least two high school students accompany each international mission team. Operation Smile has been distinguished by many prestigious awards, including the first $1 million Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize to recognize outstanding contributions made to alleviate human suffering.