The United States is home to some of the most highly trained and best-equipped surgeons in the world. Because of this depth of experience, many physicians decide to give back by sharing their experience with other healthcare providers. One such knowledge-sharing program took place in mid-May at USC's Keck School of Medicine’s Surgical Skills Simulation and Education Center, where volunteer participants from Operation Smile took part in a variety of training simulations with doctors from across the globe.
Since 1982, Operation Smile has been helping to brighten the lives of children and young adults around the world. The cornerstone of this international charity is to provide free craniofacial surgeries to people in developing countries who are born with cleft palates, cleft lips or other types of facial deformities. Over the years, the surgeons who volunteer to be a part of Operation Smile have performed hundreds of thousands of surgeries for children who otherwise might not have received proper care.
Even though the dedicated members of Operation Smile have directly changed the lives of tens of thousands of people, there is only so much that these surgeons can do. However, by sharing their knowledge and experience with other physicians from across the globe, they can exponentially increase the good they bring to the world. This philosophy was one of the underlying reasons for the USC training program.
As part of the three-day long event, USC hosted surgeons from a number of countries, including India, Egypt, Ethiopia, Peru, Rwanda and Bolivia. Over the course of 12 hours of simulation and instruction, the participants made use of USC's state-of-the-art facilities, which included real human tissue combined with an artificial flow of blood, allowing the surgeons to hone their skills in an environment that was as realistic as possible. Ultimately, the goal was to give these physicians training in not only the type of craniofacial surgery that Operation Smile is known for, but also to give them tools to treat a wide array of issues, including burns, facial trauma and cosmetic reconstruction.
Events such as this one reflect a goal that is shared by both USC's Keck School and Operation Smile, which is to close the gap in the quality of medical care between developed nations and less-developed countries. But with proper collaboration and opportunities for growth, dedicated physicians like the ones who participated in this program can raise the quality of healthcare for people in every corner of the world.
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