• Medical Volunteer

    Join our global community of 10,000 medical volunteers who strive for excellence for all patients – every child, every family.

WHO WE ARE

Our commitment to comprehensive, patient-centered care doesn’t only ensure the best possible outcomes; it’s the right thing to do. It’s a value that’s at the heart of every credentialed medical volunteer we select, regardless of which of the more than 80 countries they call home. It’s who we are. We are open-minded and accepting of cultural diversity, understanding that flexibility and humility are the keys to problem solving in challenging, fast-paced environments. We value the opportunity to learn from and share skills with some of the world’s most talented, dedicated and innovative medical professionals. We understand that while our volunteerism has the power to change our lives and bring us together as lifelong friends, we come together to change the lives of cleft patients who lack access to essential, safe surgical care.  

Featured Video: “I Am Operation Smile: Abreham Haddis” 

I Am Operation Smile: Abreham Haddis

“I am volunteering because I have a deep interest in helping others. The work Operation Smile is doing in Ethiopia means so much. Many people live as society’s outcasts because of the problems they have – they do not realize these are problems that can be fixed. To volunteer is very rewarding… Volunteering with people from other parts of the world also allows me to build my experience and knowledge.”

Abreham Haddis, Biomedical Technician, Ethiopia

WHAT WE DO

Operation Smile medical programs are almost entirely volunteer-based, so we rely on medical professionals who can take charge of their roles with confidence, conviction and world-class skill. These traits have made Operation Smile a global leader in performing safe cleft surgery in resource-limited environments for more than three decades. Guided by our Global Standards of Care, medical volunteers must be able to work as a team to balance the highest possible quality of care with the efficiency to serve as many patients as our time and resources will allow. This demands stamina – physically, mentally and emotionally – as long hours and a fast pace are expected of our volunteers. Our work also requires travel to locations across the globe, which presents its own set of demands and challenges.

Missions at a glance

  • Medical missions are usually 10-12 days long.
  • After you apply and are approved, you can indicate interest in medical missions through your online MVAC volunteer profile.
  • The recruitment of international volunteers usually takes place two to four months prior to a medical mission.
  • Volunteers are expected to cover a team fee that varies based on the country of residence.
    • There is a flat $500 team fee for volunteers from the U.S. and Canada.
  • Flight costs are covered by Operation Smile.
  • See Medical Volunteer FAQ for more information.

Download Medical Volunteer FAQ

WHERE WE WORK

Operation Smile works with local health care providers, governments, hospitals to deliver the most effective and safe surgical care to patients. We have foundations and rep offices all over the globe. Please contact Global Headquarters and we will connect you with the appropriate volunteer opportunities.

Australia

1999 - Presence established in Australia
Learn More

Bolivia

1999 - First medical mission in Bolivia
Learn More

Brazil

1997 - First medical mission in Brazil
Learn More

Canada

2011 - Presence established in Canada
Learn More

China

1991 - First medical mission in China
Learn More

Colombia

1988 - First medical mission in Colombia
Learn More

Democratic Republic of the Congo

2009 - First medical mission in Democratic Republic of the Congo
Learn More

Dominican Republic

2009 - First medical mission in the Dominican Republic
Learn More

Ecuador

1995 - First medical mission in Ecuador
Learn More

Egypt

2006 - First medical mission in Egypt
Learn More

Ethiopia

2005 - First medical mission in Ethiopia
Learn More

Ghana

2011 - First medical mission in Ghana
Learn More

Guatemala

2011 - First medical mission in Guatemala
Learn More

Haiti

2008 - First medical mission in Haiti
Learn More

Honduras

1997 - First medical mission in Honduras
Learn More

India

2002 - First medical mission in India
Learn More

Ireland

2004 - Presence established in Ireland
Learn More

Italy

2000 - Presence established in Italy
Learn More

Jordan

2000 - First medical mission in Jordan
Learn More

Kenya

1987 - First medical mission in Kenya
Learn More

Madagascar

2007 - First medical mission in Madagascar
Learn More

Malawi

2012 - First medical mission in Malawi
Learn More

Mexico

2006 - First medical mission in Mexico
Learn More

Morocco

1998 - First medical mission in Morocco
Learn More

Myanmar

2010 - First medical mission in Myanmar
Learn More

Nicaragua

1993 - First medical mission in Nicaragua
Learn More

Panama

1991 - First medical mission in Panama
Learn More

Paraguay

2005 - First medical mission in Paraguay
Learn More

Peru

1999 - First medical mission in Peru
Learn More

Philippines

1982 - First medical mission in the Philippines
Learn More

Russia

1993 - First medical mission in Russia
Learn More

Rwanda

2010 - First medical mission in Rwanda
Learn More

South Africa

2006 - First medical mission in South Africa
Learn More

South Korea

2012 - Presence established in South Korea
Learn More

Sweden

2010 - Presence established in Sweden
Learn More

Switzerland

2015 - Presence established in Switzerland
Learn More

Thailand

1997 - First medical mission in Thailand
Learn More

United Arab Emirates

2011 - Presence established in the United Arab Emirates
Learn More

United Kingdom

2001 - Presence established in the United Kingdom
Learn More

United States

1982 - Presence established in the United States
Learn More

Venezuela

1993 - First medical mission in Venezuela
Learn More

Vietnam

1989 - First medical mission in Vietnam
Learn More
See Where We Work
Volunteer Specialties

Volunteers from the following medical specialties make up our medical program teams. Please review the credentialing qualifications and apply to volunteer.

Anesthesia: Anesthesiologist/Pediatric Anesthesiologist/Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist
The administration of anesthesia is a critical aspect of performing safe surgery – without it, none of our work would be possible. Our anesthesia providers deliver the highest level of care to a broad age range of patients from infancy to adulthood in varied environments across the globe. They work in harmony with the surgical and nursing teams to deliver anesthetic care and pain management.

Download Credentialing Requirements

Biomedical Technicians
Biomedical technicians ensure that we can bring state-of-the-art medical equipment to even the most rural and remote hospitals. Their responsibilities include guaranteeing the integrity of hospital infrastructure and systems. They assess, monitor and repair equipment supplied by both local foundations and Global Headquarters. Our biomedical technicians are essential in ensuring the safety of our patients and volunteers on the medical program.

Download Credentialing Requirements

Cleft Surgery
Our cleft surgeons are highly experienced in comprehensive cleft surgical care. They are charged with performing a diverse array of cleft lip and cleft palate procedures on an aggressive timeline and continually balance providing the best possible patient outcomes and serving as many patients as possible.

Download Credentialing Requirements

Dentistry
Our dentists focus on oral health, providing care to surgical and non-surgical patients. This may include extractions, creation of obturators and other strategies that improve intra-oral function, speech and aesthetics of our patients. Throughout the program, they also provide preventative and home care instructions to patients and their families.

Download Credentialing Requirements

Nursing: Pre/Post-Operative, Operating Room, Recovery Room
Our nurses provide patients with their professional skills and personal touch. They embody the compassionate and caring spirit of Operation Smile’s medical volunteer community. Their knowledge of pediatric principles and their diverse abilities ensure that every patient receives the exceptional care they deserve, every step of the way.

Download Credentialing Requirements

Pediatrician
The majority of the patients we serve are children, so we rely on the knowledge and insight of pediatricians to interpret the entire health picture of each of our patients. The pediatrician’s input is critical to our pre-operative comprehensive health evaluations, which determine if children are healthy enough to receive surgery. They continue to care for patients after surgery and ensure families are prepared to take their child home.

Download Credentialing Requirements

Post Anesthesia Care Unit Physicians
Recovering from anesthesia is a critical period for our patients. The placement of PI/PACU physicians in the recovery room allows us to provide a safe environment for patients undergoing surgery. Recognition of potential complications and responding with life-saving cardiopulmonary resuscitation skills are essential to providing the best level of post-operative monitoring and care.

Download Credentialing Requirements

Psychosocial Care Providers (Child Life)
Our child life volunteers are licensed professionals that provide psychosocial care and guide the patient and family through the surgical experience. They utilize their knowledge of child development to ease patient fears and anxieties by explaining and demonstrating every aspect of care. They facilitate therapeutic play and activities, working with parents, and act as the child’s and family’s advocate in the potentially confusing world of the hospital.

Download Credentialing Requirements

Speech Language Pathology
Our speech language pathologists have a wide range and depth of educational and clinical experiences in cleft and other craniofacial disorders. They partner with the medical team to provide insight into which types of procedures or non-surgical options ensure the best speech outcome for every individual patient. They additionally work with patients and families on nutrition and general speech and language education.

Download Credentialing Requirements

Apply to Volunteer View Mission Schedule Contact Us
Additional Opportunities

Medical Residents Leadership Program
The Resident Leadership Program, generously sponsored by the Regan family, provides valuable opportunities for current medical residents to learn and grow in a volunteer setting.
U.S. Care Network
In pursuance of our goal to provide safe, accessible care worldwide, we are asking medical professionals to join our U.S. Care Network (USCN), a referral service available to families in the United States. U.S. Care Network members work within their communities in the United States to promote access to safe and affordable care. As a USCN member, you help break down obstacles to optimal health care by providing pro bono services to individuals in our U.S. Care patient registry.
  • Get Involved

    There are many ways to assist Operation Smile in its mission to heal smiles around the world. Our community volunteers give time and valuable resource through local fundraising, participating in local and national volunteer organizations, preparing supplies for our medical missions and more.