Children's Medical Nonprofit Convenes Health Care Providers from 45 Countries in Rare Meeting to Advance the Discussion on Global Surgery in Resource Poor Environments Operation Smile to host think tank of international medical teams, industry thought leaders and academic institutions during NEXT Medical Conference beginning May 15

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va., May 14, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Leaders from the global public health community including Dr. Meena Cherian, the driving force behind the World Health Organization's initiative for Emergency and Essential Surgical Care, and Dr. John Meara, who heads the Program in Global Surgery and Social Change at Harvard Medical School, will descend on Virginia Beach for Operation Smile's NEXT Medical Conference May 15May 19.

Operation Smile, a leader in the delivery of high-quality facial surgery care around the world, has been committed to increasing access to surgical services for more than 30 years. The NEXT Medical Conference is sponsored by Covidien, a leading provider of medical devices and supplies that shares Operation Smile's commitment to increasing patient access to the highest quality medical care globally.

"Operation Smile's NEXT Medical Conference is an exceptional opportunity to advance the global conversation on surgery in resource-limited environments," said Dr. Paul Farmer, Chair of the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Co-founder of Partners In Health, a medical nonprofit dedicated to delivering quality health care to those living in some of the world's poorest and most vulnerable communities.

NEXT will draw participation from clinicians in the surgical arena from more than 45 countries worldwide, and it will bring together researchers and medical residents who represent the future generation of health leaders. Together, this group will explore the gap in global surgical care and collaborate on ways to overcome barriers to care, improve local health infrastructure and increase surgical capacity.

"We continue to invest in bringing people together because we understand the value of surgery and feel a sense of urgency to scale up access to surgical care worldwide," said Operation Smile Co-Founder and CEO, Dr. William Magee. "By convening care providers from around the world, we know that idea exchange, problem-solving and conversation with like-minded partners will take place and result in relevant solutions that increase access to surgical care and ensure that no child has to live with a correctable facial deformity."

A total of 200 medical practitioners from 10 medical fields, including plastic surgery, anesthesiology, pediatrics and dentistry, will convene at Operation Smile's Global Headquarters. Of these participants, 136 are global partners from Operations Smile's Foundations worldwide, including 31 country Medical Directors with an impressive 400 years of combined experience serving the organization, highlighting expertise of leadership. Additionally 64 members of the Operation Smile diverse medical residency programs will also be among the conference participants, a representation of Operation Smile's commitment to building capacity and self-sufficiency worldwide.  

"Access to safe and timely surgical services remains challenging—often impossible—for more than 2 billion people worldwide, the vast majority of them poor and thus vulnerable to heavier burdens of disease," said Dr. Farmer, who also heads the Division of Global Health Equity at Brigham and Women's Hospital.  "Recognition of essential surgical care as a priority represents a critical advancement of the movement for global health equity. We must take advantage of this moment to ensure not only that surgery becomes an integral part of the public health discourse, but also that efforts to strengthen health systems result in the delivery of effective surgical care to those who need it most."

Other noteworthy conference participants include Dr. Ken Salyer, a world-renowned surgeon specializing in facial-cranial reconstruction, and Dr. Henry Kawamoto Jr., Director of UCLA's Craniofacial Clinic. Both medical professionals, along with Dr. William Magee, trained under the late Dr. Paul Tessier who was considered the father of modern craniofacial surgery.

About Operation Smile
Operation Smile, headquartered in Virginia Beach, Va., is an international children's medical charity with a presence in more than 60 countries, whose network of more than 5,400 medical volunteers is dedicated to helping improve the health and lives of children. Since its founding in 1982, Operation Smile has provided more than 220,000 free surgical procedures for children born with cleft lip, cleft palate and other facial deformities.

For more information: 
Sabrina Zimring, Operation Smile Global Headquarters
Director of Public Relations
757.321.3229 | sabrina.zimring@operationsmile.org

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SOURCE Operation Smile



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