NEXT Asia Summit 2017

Volunteer Story
Photo: Voltaire F. Domingo, NPPA Images.

From July 13 through July 15, Operation Smile brought together more than 400 medical professionals from 27 countries to participate in the NEXT Asia Summit 2017 at St. Luke’s Medical Center in Manila. In the Philippines, across Asia and around the world, Operation Smile’s ability to provide patients with world-class cleft surgery relies on the strength of our dedicated and passionate volunteer community. Geared toward building the skills and networks of medical professionals through shared learning and collaboration and ultimately strengthening health systems through capacity building, the conference offered participants training workshops across several medical specialties including plastic surgery, anesthesia, nursing, speech therapy and dentistry, as well as the opportunity to listen to keynote speeches from distinguished medical and non-medical personnel. Co-chaired by Operation Smile Chief Medical Advisor Dr. Don Mackay and Operation Smile Philippines Chief Medical Officer Dr. Irene Tangco, the conference was the first in the NEXT series to be hosted outside of the United States since the series’ inception in 2014. Photo: Voltaire F. Domingo, NPPA Images.

 

Photo: Voltaire F. Domingo, NPPA Images.

Fellows of the Regan Resident Leadership Program meet Operation Smile Co-Founder and CEO Dr. Bill Magee during the NEXT Asia Summit, which included the fellowship’s annual Regan Resident Leadership Conference. Named in honor of its benefactor the Regan family, who fund the program through their nonprofit, the Harbourton Foundation, the Regan Resident Leadership Program provides senior residents in anesthesia, pediatrics and reconstructive plastic surgery the unique educational opportunity of attending at least one Operation Smile medical mission to volunteer under the mentorship of experienced physicians and to partake in a skills building workshop or educational conference with fellow residents. The goal of the program is to develop the skills of future Operation Smile medical volunteers from around the world while serving patients and working with colleagues from different resource settings and health systems, fostering long term working relationships. Through the first decade of the fellowship, 208 surgeons enhanced their skills in cleft lip and cleft palate treatment, improving the delivery of surgical care around the world. Of fellows surveyed in 2016, an average of 92 percent of respondents agreed that the fellowship significantly and positively impacted all six Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education core competencies: patient care, medical knowledge, practice-based learning and improvement, interpersonal and communication skills, professionalism and systems-based practice. Following their participation in the fellowship, 58 percent of respondents went on to hold leadership positions in their respective careers. Photo: Voltaire F. Domingo, NPPA Images.

 

Photo: Voltaire F. Domingo, NPPA Images.

Lead geneticist Dr. Pedro Sanchez, Assistant Professor of Clinical Pathology at the University of Southern California (USC) Keck School of Medicine and Medical Geneticist at the Center for Personalized Medicine at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA), delivers an overview of the International Family Study. Launched in 2009, the medical research study is a collaboration between Operation Smile, USC and CHLA that analyzes genetic data obtained from saliva samples voluntarily provided by patients, their families and control groups, as well as information collected from maternal and paternal questionnaires on environmental exposures and lifestyle habits. The study blends the data from this genetic analysis with the questionnaire findings to provide the most comprehensive understanding of the causes of cleft conditions. The ultimate goal is to put this evidence into action to prevent cleft conditions before they develop in the womb. To date, nearly 13,000 individual saliva samples across almost 5,000 families have been collected, making it the world’s largest repository of genetic information relating to the global incidence of cleft conditions. Photo: Voltaire F. Domingo, NPPA Images.

 

Photo: Voltaire F. Domingo, NPPA Images.

Operation Smile Co-Founder and President Kathy Magee speaks during the NEXT Asia Summit. “NEXT is a crucial program because even after 35 years, the need for our work still outweighs the capacity to treat those who are waiting. Operation Smile won’t stop until we heal every child with a cleft. We will continue to bring attention to the global lack of access to safe surgery with the help of our many partners.” Photo: Voltaire F. Domingo, NPPA Images.

 

Photo: Voltaire F. Domingo, NPPA Images.

NEXT Asia attendees participate in the Anesthesia Difficult Airway Workshop led by Drs. Isabelle Simoneau, King Palabyab and Nicole Shilkofski. This session for pediatricians and anesthesiologists enhanced medical professionals’ skills around preventing and handling airway management problems, which is one of the most common complications of anesthesia and causes of injury during surgery. “The NEXT Asia Summit is a forum for teaching, learning, and sharing through a multidisciplinary and cross-cultural collaboration with fellow volunteers. Our ultimate goal is patient safety in patient care management,” said Manuel M. Canlas, Associate Director, Department of Clinical Advancement & Nursing Informatics, Nursing Care Group of St. Luke’s Medical Center. Photo: Voltaire F. Domingo, NPPA Images.

 

Photo: Voltaire F. Domingo, NPPA Images.

While leading the “Psychological and Ethical Implications of Medical Volunteerism” breakout session, pediatric nurse Michael Felber said, “Any effort or extra time we take to make a child feel empowered is something that will pay off in their future contact with the health care system. Children with cleft lip and cleft palate need long term relationships with health care providers.” Photo: Voltaire F. Domingo, NPPA Images.

 

Photo: Voltaire F. Domingo, NPPA Images.

NEXT Asia co-chair Dr. Irene Tangco, Operation Smile Philippines Chief Medical Officer, speaks during the conference, which was hosted at St. Luke’s Medical Center where she works. The conference was the first in the NEXT series to be hosted outside of the United States since the series’ inception in 2014. Photo: Voltaire F. Domingo, NPPA Images.

 

Photo: Voltaire F. Domingo, NPPA Images.

NEXT Asia co-chair Dr. Don Mackay, Operation Smile Chief Medical Advisor, speaks during the conference. Photo: Voltaire F. Domingo, NPPA Images.

 

Photo: Voltaire F. Domingo, NPPA Images.

After performing at NEXT Asia’s volunteer reception and awards ceremony, Chadleen Lacdo-o, a former Operation Smile patient who received cleft palate surgery when she was 4 years old, embraces Kathy Magee. Thanks to the improvements in her speech resulting from that surgery, Chadleen went on to become an accomplished pop singer – winning the “Kanta Pilipinas” reality T.V. singing competition – and media personality in the Philippines. Photo: Voltaire F. Domingo, NPPA Images.

 

NEXT Asia participants listen to a presentation during the conference. Dr. Laura Cappuyns, a Malawian Plastic Surgery resident and Regan Resident Leadership Program fellow, said:It was one of the most memorable experiences ever. I learned a lot from the speakers on different techniques and the research that has been done on cleft conditions. I also found the talks very inspiring – in particular Dr. Magee’s wise words, ‘There’s always something you can do,’ and ‘You'll never know until you try.’ Those words were my take-home message to continue to strive to give my best to my patients… I enjoyed every bit of the conference, but most importantly meeting all the different people, sharing experiences and building friendships. I hope to continue being part of Operation Smile missions and to continue to learn from conferences and other teaching platforms.” Photo: Voltaire F. Domingo, NPPA Images.