There is a pressing need for sustainable cleft care in developing countries where the consequences of cleft lip and palate are devastating if left untreated. The mission of Global Smile Foundation (GSF) is to provide comprehensive cleft care for patients in these underserved areas throughout the world and to advance the level of cleft care provided globally.
For the past 33 years, GSF volunteers have been dedicated to providing our patients with the best possible long-term and multi-disciplinary cleft care. We believe that first-class comprehensive cleft care should be accessible for all patients regardless of geographic or socioeconomic barriers.
Our goal is based on improving the lives of individuals and their families, not on numbers. We provide care that goes well beyond fragmented corrective surgeries to include the full range of care that a patient would receive in the United States.
In addition to surgical procedures, comprehensive care includes:
- Pre-surgical dental orthopedics
- Feeding and nutrition counseling
- Dental and orthodontic treatment
- Speech therapy
- Psychosocial support
Patients and their families also receive education and information about post-op care, nutrition, and cleft prevention. We return to the same locations annually and are thus able to provide individualized follow-up care for our patients and a continuity of care. Our approach enables us to facilitate the best health outcomes for our patients and gives them the opportunity to live full, productive lives without the burdens of cleft.
We hope that all countries will develop the ability to provide high-quality comprehensive cleft care and are dedicated to providing extensive and integrated educational programs. Our efforts include:
- Hands-on training for healthcare professionals at our mission sites
- Facilitating an international comprehensive cleft care workshop, now in its 3rd year
- Development of local cleft teams at mission sites
- Guidance and support of local partners to ensure advanced cleft care for local populace
- Fellowships & training initiatives
- Implementation of Augmented Reality for advanced surgical techniques in cleft repairs.
In addition, GSF partners with well-respected onsite nonprofit organizations, local authorities, and cleft surgeons to deliver essential care for patients who need it most.