Operation Smile Medical Mission to take Place in Caracas, Venezuela from January 10-20, 2007

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Operation Smile leads a mission to repair children's cleft lips and cleft palates in Caracas, Venezuela during Operation Smile's 25th Anniversary Year.

An Operation Smile Medical Mission team will arrive in Caracas, Venezuela, for an international medical mission taking place January 10-20, 2007 to assist children born with facial deformities. Founded in 1982, Operation Smile is a worldwide children's medical charity dedicated to helping improve the health and lives of children and young adults.

Who:

An Operation Smile International Mission Team comprised of 35-40 credentialed medical professionals from around the world to include:

  • Dr. Jorge Carlesso, plastic surgeon and Operation Smile Venezuela Founder
  • Dr. Maria Rotunda, anesthesiologist and Operation Smile Venezuela Medical Director
  • Dr. Teresita Panacci, orthodontist from Venezuela
  • Dr. Mike Stabile, anesthesiologist from Tennessee
  • Dr. Henry Issenberg, pediatrician from New York
  • Kathy Majette, RN, pre/post-operative nurse from Virginia
  • Lucia Mauer, RN, clinical coordinator from Washington

When:

January 10-20, 2007

Where:

Fundacion Hospital Ortopedico Infantil

Caracas, Venezuela

Venezuela became an Operation Smile partner country in 1993. Since that time, Operation Smile has conducted international and local in-country medical missions in Apure, Barinas, Caracas, Catia La Mar, Charravelle, Maturin, Mérida, Ocumare del Tuy, Puerto la Cruz, Puerto Ordaz, San Cristóbal, Satramo and Valencia. In October 2005, an international medical mission took place in Barinas, and a volunteer team of approximately 50 members from Panama, the United Kingdom and the United States worked with Venezuelan volunteers at Hospital Luis Razzetti and provided 198 children and young adults with free medical evaluations and 114 patients received free reconstructive surgery to repair their cleft lips, cleft palates and other facial deformities. Operation Smile medical volunteers have treated more than 3,000 children and young adults through international medical missions and local in-country medical missions in Venezuela.

Venezuela is one of the partner countries participating during Operation Smile's 25th anniversary year. Operation Smile will commemorate its 25th Anniversary with a year-long, multi-faceted series of initiatives to include the following:

  • Global Standards of Care -- 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 -- Operation Smile will open Comprehensive Care Centers in Colombia, Honduras, Morocco, China, India, the Philippines and Vietnam. Each Center will 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.
  • International Forums on Medical Diplomacy -- As part of its ongoing effort to create a global humanitarian network to bring healing to the world's children, Operation Smile will host international forums on medical diplomacy.
  • World Journey of Smiles -- 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 treating 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. In addition to contributing free medical treatment for children born with 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. 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 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.

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Lisa Jones
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