A Mission for Renewed Hope

The American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Heads to Russia to Help Repair Facial Deformities of Children in Need

New York, NY, April 1, 2000 – The Educational and Research Foundation for the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (AAFPRS) is devoted to providing humanitarian assistance to those who suffer from facial deformities caused by birth, trauma and cancer, both in this country and abroad. In response to the need for assistance in developing countries, participating AAFPRS surgeons of the FACE TO FACE International program are preparing for their return to Yekaterinburg, Russia (the region of the eastern foothills in the central Urals) from April 11th – 21st.

FACE TO FACE is making its seventh humanitarian mission to Russia to care for individuals with facial deformities, primarily children, and to have an educational exchange with Russian surgeons in current facial plastic and reconstructive surgery procedures and techniques. A distinguishing feature of the FACE TO FACE program is a focus on repeated visits to the same locations, which helps to make a more lasting impact on that community.

The team of three AAFPRS surgeons, lead by Marcelo Hochman, MD of Charleston, SC, will work in collaboration with the Bonum Center – a facility (located approximately one hour from Yekaterinburg) that consists of four separate plants: hospital, kindergarten, school, and camp. In a culture where many children have been abandoned by their parents because of facial deformities, the Bonum Center attempts to fill the void beyond just medical intervention. The program intertwines sociological, psychological, and medical treatment. Other participating AAFPRS surgeons donating their time during the FACE TO FACE Russia mission include, P. David Hunter, MD (Edmund, OK) and Stella Desyatnikova, MD (Portland, OR). In addition, anesthesiologist Mark Friedlander, MBChB, FRCPC (North York, Ontario) and two nurses, Dixie Hohnbaum, LPN (Little Rock, AR) and Nancy Anderson, RN (Goose Creek, SC) will accompany the team to Russia. The team will use their expertise to perform facial plastic and reconstructive surgery of the face, head and neck. This includes procedures such as cleft lip and cleft palate repair, microtia reconstruction and microvascular reconstructions of all forms of facial and cranial deformities.

“It is an incredibly rewarding feeling to be able to give back to those in need,” says Dr. Hochman. “The FACE TO FACE Russia trip will help give children a future by correcting the facial deformities that burden them both physically and emotionally – this is the first step in helping a child to advance and lead a normal and productive lifestyle.”

The AAFPRS FACE TO FACE International program is a humanitarian and educational surgical exchange program whose participants assist those abroad who suffer from facial deformities caused by birth or trauma. FACE TO FACE is committed to educational exchange among facial plastic surgeons throughout the world. AAFPRS surgeons travel abroad, with a single mission… to treat one face at a time, one person at a time.

This month AAFPRS FACE TO FACE volunteers will also be traveling to China from April 8th – 22nd. The team of five AAFPRS surgeons will be lead by Sherad A. Tatum, III, MD (Syracuse, NY), and includes John M. Hodges, MD (Memphis, TN), Jonathan M. Sykes, MD (Sacramento, CA), Jon Mendelsohn, MD (Edgewood, KY) and David J. Kiener, MD (Roseville, CA). Past missions have included trips to Vietnam and Croatia. To date, it is estimated that AAFPRS FACE TO FACE volunteers have helped approximately one thousand people worldwide.