Course Co-Director
President, Global Smile Foundation
Otolaryngologist/Facial Plastic Surgeon
Assistant Clinical Professor of Otolaryngology-Tufts University School of Medicine Clinical Instructor in Otology & Laryngology-Harvard Medical SchoolClinical Instructor of Otolaryngology-Boston University School of Medicine

Dr. Usama Hamdan is an Otolaryngologist/Facial Plastic Surgeon with university appointments at Harvard Medical School, Tufts University School of Medicine and Boston University School of Medicine. Dr. Hamdan is a well-published and respected international lecturer and holds visiting professorships at numerous institutions throughout the world. He is Founder and President of Global Smile Foundation, a 501C3 Boston-based non-profit foundation that provides comprehensive and integrated pro bono cleft care for underserved patients born with facial congenital deformities throughout the world. He has been involved with Outreach Programs for the last 30 years. He also serves on the boards of several NGO’s. For his philanthropic service to the people of Ecuador, he was awarded the Knighthood, “Al Merito Atahualpa” En El Grado De Caballero, by the President of Ecuador in March 2005, as well as various other national and international fellowships and awards in El Salvador, Peru, City of Boston and Rotary International. He also received Honorary Professorship at Universidad de Especialidades Espíritu Santo, School of Medicine, in Ecuador on March 5, 2015 for his contributions in the field of Cleft Lip and Palate.


Course Co-Director
Director, Division of Plastic Surgery, Surgical Director, Craniofacial Center, Cincinnati Children's Hospital 
Pediatric Craniofacial Plastic Surgeon Professor, Department of Surgery, University of Cincinnati Head of Research, Cincinnati Shriner Hospital
Director, Embracing Life Program, United Palestinian Appeal  

Dr. van Aalst completed his undergraduate and graduate studies at Dartmouth College. He completed Medical School at Vanderbilt University, followed by General Surgery Residency at Case Western Reserve, and University Hospitals of Cleveland. During General Surgery training, he completed a 3-year Vascular Biology Research Fellowship at the Cleveland Clinic.  This was followed by Plastic Surgery Residency and a Craniofacial Fellowship at Indiana University. From 2004 to 2014, he worked at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill as the Director of Pediatric Plastic and Craniofacial Surgery. He is currently Chief of Plastic Surgery and Surgical Director of the Craniofacial Anomalies Program at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. He is Director of Research at the Shriner Hospital for Children in Cincinnati. Clinically, Dr. van Aalst specializes in the correction of cleft lip and palate and other congenital and traumatic abnormalities of the face and skull.  His research interests include the use of nanotechnology with tissue engineering strategies to create bone and cartilage for children with craniofacial anomalies.  Dr. van Aalst routinely travels to the Middle East to provide free surgery for children with clefts and craniofacial conditions. To expand on this work and to develop training programs for health care professionals who provide care for these children, Dr. van Aalst has partnered with United Palestinian Appeal to develop the Embracing Life Program.  This program is committed to training Palestinian professionals to provide world-class, comprehensive care for children with clefts and craniofacial conditions.


Assistant Professor of Surgery
Head of Division of Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery
American University of Beirut Medical Center Craniofacial Plastic Surgeon
Co-Director, Conflict Medicine Program - Global Health Institute Honorary Senior Clinical Lecturer, Queen Mary University of London  

Dr Ghassan Abu-Sittah MBchB, FRCS(Plast) graduated from University of Glasgow, Faculty of Medicine in 1994. He completed his Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery higher surgical training in London. He completed a Fellowship in Pediatric in Craniofacial Surgery and a second fellowship in Cleft Surgery at Great Ormond Street Hospital for Sick Kids in London. He also did a Fellowship Adult Craniofacial Surgery at Chelsea & Westminster Hospital. In 2011 he was appointed at the American University of Beirut Medical Center where is currently Head of Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery Division and its Residency Program Director, director of Cleft and Craniofacial Center and co-director of the Conflict Medicine Program of the Global Health Institute.


Director of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Medical University of South Carolina 
Facial Plastic Surgeon/ Otolaryngologist
Associate Professor, Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Medical University of South Carolina

Krishna G. Patel, M.D., Ph.D. joined the Medical University of South Carolina department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery in 2008, and was named the Director of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery in 2010. She attended Columbia University in New York City for her undergraduate education. She then earned M.D. and Ph.D. degrees through the combined program at the Medical College of Georgia, where she was awarded the "Excellence in Research" award. Dr. Patel completed a residency in Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. Following residency, she pursued fellowship training in Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at the University of California, Davis. Dr. Patel is double board certified by the American Board of Otolaryngology and by the American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. Dr. Patel actively participates in volunteer medical trips to third world countries to provide care to the medically underserved. She travels annually to both Ecuador and El Salvador where she operates on children with cleft lips and palates. Here in the United States, Dr. Patel is one of the main cleft surgeons and a member of the MUSC Craniofacial Anomalies and Cleft Palate Center.


Attending in Plastic and Oral Surgery, Boston Children's Hospital 
Pediatric Craniofacial Plastic Surgeon
Associate Clinical Director for Plastic and Oral Surgery Services and Special Effects and Materials Science, Boston Children's Hospital Simulator Program 
Assistant Professor of Surgery, Harvard Medical School.


Dr. Rogers-Vizena is a pediatric plastic and craniofacial surgeon at Boston Children's Hospital and an Assistant Professor at Harvard Medical School. She is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, completed her Plastic Surgery residency at the University of Wisconsin, and a Craniofacial Surgery fellowship at Boston Children’s Hospital. Her clinical areas of focus include cleft lip and palate, velopharyngeal dysfunction, and craniofacial disorders. She has been involved in cleft lip and palate research for over a decade, beginning with a research fellowship at the University of Pittsburgh. Her current research parallels her clinical interests, with an emphasis on cleft lip and palate outcomes. As part of that work, Dr.Rogers-Vizena is Scientific Co-Chair for the International Consortium for Health OutcomesMeasurement Cleft Lip and Palate benchmarking program. In addition, she is highly engaged in the Boston Children’s Hospital Simulator Program and holds the appointments of AssociateClinical Director for Plastic and Oral Surgery and Special Effects and Materials Science.


Joseph McCarthy Professor of Plastic Surgery Director
Cleft Lip and Palate Program
Director Craniofacial Surgery Fellowship
Hansjorg Wyss Department of Plastic Surgery NYU Langone Medical Center

Roberto L . Flores, MD, is the Joseph McCarthy Associate Professor of Reconstructive Plastic Surgery, Director of Cleft Lip and Palate and the Craniofacial Surgery Fellowship Director in the Hansjörg Wyss Department of Plastic Surgery at NYU Langone Health. Dr. Flores is widely published in the topics of cleft lip and palate, rhinoplasty, Pierre Robin Sequence and surgical simulation and has over one million dollars in NIH funding to investigate bone tissue engineering solutions in the growing craniofacial skeleton. An international expert in cleft lip and palate, rhinoplasty and infant jaw reconstruction, Dr. Flores has created three, freely available multimedia plastic surgery simulators, including the Smile Train Virtual Surgery Simulator, the most widely utilized surgical simulator for cleft lip and palate reconstruction.


Chief of the Division of Otolaryngology at Rady Children's Hospital-San Diego
CA Pediatric Otolaryngologist
Clinical Associate Professor of Surgery at University of California San Diego School of Medicine

Dr. Matthew Brigger is chief of the Division of Otolaryngology at Rady Children's Hospital-San Diego and a clinical associate professor of surgery at UC San Diego School of Medicine. His primary clinical interests are diseases of the upper aerodigestive tract, with a focus on surgical management of children with breathing and swallowing disorders. A strong proponent of providing care based on the best available research, he was named a 2015 Cochrane Scholar of the American Academy of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery for his commitment to evidence-based medicine. Dr. Brigger's research areas include investigating the epidemiology of disease and evaluating treatment outcomes for various strategies in caring for children with breathing and swallowing disorders. He has authored over 50 peer-reviewed studies and has presented at national and international meetings. A father of three children, Dr. Brigger is an avid runner and spends his free time coaching or serving as a Cub Scout den leader.


Associate Professor, Department of Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery
Ghent University Hospital, Belgium
Pediatric Craniofacial Plastic Surgeon
Department of Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery Ghent University Hospital, Belgium

Dr. Nathalie Roche studied medicine in Rotterdam, the Netherlands at the Erasmus University. She trained in general and plastic surgery in Nieuwegein, Gouda, Amsterdam (NL) and Ghent and graduated in 2000 from the training program of the department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery in Ghent under guidance of Prof. Dr. S. Monstrey. She successfully passed the final examinations and obtained the titles of Fellow of the Collegium Chirurgicum Plasticum and Fellow of the European Board of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery. From 2001 to 2004 she worked as full-time staff member in the department of Plastic Surgery in the Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam (NL), where she mainly performed pediatric plastic surgery, head and neck reconstructions and craniofacial surgery. From 2004 she works as Associate Professor in the department of Plastic Surgery of the University Hospital Ghent. As member of the surgical team that performed the first successful face transplant in the Benelux in 2011, she wrote her PhD thesis "Face Off: Multidisciplinary Approach to Facial Transplantation" in 2015. She is an active member of the European Association of Plastic Surgeons and the Dutch Association for Cleft Palate and Craniofacial Anomalies. Dr. N. Roche is author of more than 70 clinical and scientific papers and presented at several national and international meetings. She also performs charity work as a volunteer plastic surgeon in the developing countries for mainly cleft lip and palate and burn surgery. Her main fields of interest are pediatric plastic surgery, breast reconstruction with autologous tissue, head and neck reconstructions and craniofacial surgery.


Surgical Director, Global Smile Foundation
President, Global Smile Foundation – Brasil 

Maxillofacial and Reconstructive Surgeon
Professor and Coordinator of craniofacial deformities center in Instituto Macapaense do Melhor Ensino Superior, Macapá, Brazil
Assistant Clinical Professor of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon at Associação Brasileira de Odontologia, ABO, Goiânia, Goiás, Brazil
Director of Craniofacial Deformities Center at Saint Jude’s Hospital, Goiás, Brazil.

Dr. Fernando Almas Carvalho is an Oral and MaxilloFacial Surgeon with university appointments at IMMES university and Associação Brasileira de Odontologia in Brazil. He is Founder & President of Global Smile Foundation Brasil, a nonprofit foundation that provides humanitarian care for underserved cleft patients and facial deformities throughout remote areas in Brazil and is affiliated with Global Smile Foundation US as Surgical Director. He has been involved with Outreach Programs and comprehensive cleft treatment for the last 10 years. For his philanthropic service to the underserved people in Brazil, providing free care for patients with facial deformities, he was awarded the National Health Award in November 2014. He is the youngest surgeon to receive this award in Brazil.


CranioFacial Plastic Surgeon
Cleft Lip and Palate Fellow, Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children, London, UK 

Dr. Zgheib completed his Plastic Surgery training at the American University of Beirut Medical Center in 2015, after which he traveled to London and subspecialized in advanced post trauma reconstruction in addition to Cleft and Craniofacial Deformities. He has been involved with Global Smile Foundation since 2011, traveling with them on several missions. He is an ATLS instructor and an instructor at the microsurgery course at Queen Mary University of London. He is the author of several publications related to clefts including “Evaluation and Management of the Cleft Lip” chapter in Sotaloff’s Comprehensive Textbook of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery. His main focus is the management of Cleft and congenital craniofacial related deformities.


Clinical & Research Fellow in Plastic Surgery
Oral & Maxillofacial/ Cleft & Craniofacial Surgeon
Sri Ramachandra University/ Smile Train Fellow

Dr. Charanya Vijayakumar is a Consultant Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeon and a Clinical and Research Fellow in Cleft, Craniofacial & Facial Plastic Surgery at Sri Ramachandra University. She also has clinical experience in pediatric dentistry and dental care for children with cleft. She is involved in clinical research on cleft children with velopharyngeal incompetence and currently having two grants in India: The notable Lady Tata Memorial Trust Grant & the institutional GATE grant. She has also been a part of a prestigious Government of India Project on Safety Protocols for Dental Procedures in India. Her passionis to treat and rehabilitate children with cleft and craniofacial deformities.


Clinical Director, Mayo Family Pediatric Pain Rehabilitation Center 
Senior Associate in Pain Medicine
Senior Associate in Perioperative Anesthesia, Boston Children’s Hospital
Professor of Anaesthesia, Harvard Medical School

Navil F. Sethna MD, FAAP, MA (Hon.) is a clinical pediatric anesthesiologist and pain medicine physician. He is presently the Clinical Director of Mayo Family Pediatric Pain Rehabilitation Center at Boston Children’s Hospital, Boston MA, U.S.A. He is professor of Anesthesiology at Harvard Medical School. He has a longstanding interest in pediatric anesthesia and in clinical research of acute and chronic pain management in children particularly assessment and treatment of neuropathic pain. He is the principal investigator and co-investigator of leading studies on pediatric pain medicine including leading publications in the field of neuropathic pain in children.


Chair, Department of Anesthesia, American University of Beirut Medical Center 
Professor of Anesthesia, American University of Beirut

-Doctor of Medicine Diploma, 1989 (Saint Joseph University, Faculty of Medicine) -Residency training in Anesthesiology and Critical Care (Université Claude Bernard, Hôpital Hotel Dieu, Lyon-France/American University of Beirut, Medical Center) -Joined the Department of Anesthesiology at the American University of Beirut Medical Center, July 1996. -Arab Board certification in Anesthesiology and critical care in 1998 -“Perioperative Transesophageal Echocardiography” certification from the national board of echocardiography (USA), May 2003 (recertification, July 2014) -Promoted to the rank of Professor of Anesthesiology, 2012 -Interim Chairperson, Department of Anesthesiology since December 2016 -Previous member of the scientific board of the Lebanese Society of Anesthesiology and the Lebanese Society for the Study of Pain -Presented several lectures in local, regional and international scientific meetings -Reviewer for several anesthesia journals -Served as vice chair for academic affairs and program director of residency training -Served as director of pediatric anesthesia, and director of acute pain service -Member of the pediatric and adult cardiac anesthesia team -Member of the pain management team -Member of the Institutional Review Board of the American University of Beirut, and member of many departmental and hospital committees. -Research interests include pediatric and obstetric anesthesia and acute postoperative pain with more than 80 publications in peer reviewed international anesthesia journals


Senior Director, Division of Speech-Language Pathology
Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center
Speech & Language Pathologist

Former Senior Director of the Division of Speech-Language Pathology at Cincinnati Children’s HospitalProfessor of Clinical Pediatrics and Professor of Otolaryngology at the University Of Cincinnati College Of Medicine

Ann W. Kummer, Ph.D., CCC-SLP is the former Senior Director of the Division of Speech-Language Pathology at Cincinnati Children’s. Under her direction, the speech-language pathology program at Cincinnati Children’s became the largest pediatric program in the nation and one of the most respected. Dr. Kummer is also Professor of Clinical Pediatrics and Professor of Otolaryngology at the University of Cincinnati, College of Medicine. Dr. Kummer has done hundreds of national and international lectures and seminars in the areas of cleft palate and craniofacial anomalies, resonance disorders, velopharyngeal dysfunction, and business practices in speech-language pathology. She has written numerous professional articles and 24 book chapters in speech pathology and medical texts. She is one of the authors of the text entitled Business Practices: A Guide for Speech-Language Pathologists (ASHA, 2004) and the author of the book entitled Cleft Palate and Craniofacial Anomalies: The Effects on Speech and Resonance, 3rd Edition (Cengage Learning, 2014). Dr. Kummer is the co-developer of the Simplified Nasometric Assessment Procedures (SNAP) test (1996) and author of the SNAP-R (2005) that is incorporated in the Nasometer equipment (PENTAX Medical). She holds a patent on the nasoscope, which is marketed as the Oral & Nasal Listener (Super Duper, Inc.). She was one of the main developers of workflow software that won the 1995 International Beacon Award through IBM/Lotus. (Derivative software is marketed by Chart Links.) Dr. Kummer has received numerous honors, including: Honors of the Southwestern Ohio Speech-Language-Hearing Association (1995); Honors of the Ohio Speech-Language-Hearing Association (OSLHA) (1997); distinguished alumnus award from the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, University of Cincinnati (1999); elected Fellow of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) (2002); named one of the top 25 most influential therapists in the United States by Therapy Times (2006); Honors for Distinguished Service, Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, University of Cincinnati (2007); named one of the 10 Most Inspiring Women in Cincinnati (2007); Inducted into the National Academy of Inventors, Cincinnati Chapter (2010); Distinguished Alumnus Award, College of Allied Health, University of Cincinnati (2012), Elwood Chaney Outstanding Clinician Award from OSHLA (2012); Annie Glenn National Leadership Award, OSSPEAC (2014); the Media Outreach Champion award from ASHA (2014); and Honors of the Association from ASHA (2017).


Instructor and Clinical Supervisor, Louisiana State University 

Speech & Language Pathologist
Coordinator of the LSU Pediatric Feeding Clinic
Member of the Our Lady of the Lake Children's Hospital Cleft and Craniofacial Team

Courtney K. Gonsoulin is the owner and clinical director of Speech and Feeding Specialists of Louisiana. She has worked as a pediatric speech language pathologist since 1994. She received her Master of Science Degree in Speech Pathology from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Courtney also is currently on faculty at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge as a clinical educator in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders. She is a member of Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Hospital Cranial Facial and Cleft Palate Multidiscipline Team and works with Children’s Hospital of New Orleans to provide Fiberoptic Endoscopic Evaluation of the Swallow (FEES) through their Baton Rouge location. Her specializations include pediatric feeding and swallowing disorders, speech, resonance and language disorders, multidisciplinary treatment, working with the medically fragile population, and early intervention. She coordinates the LSU Pediatric Feeding Clinic and supervises graduate students in the areas of early intervention, speech, language and resonance disorders, and pediatric feeding and swallowing disorders. Courtney presents regularly on topics related to pediatric feeding and swallowing disorders at universities, medical facilities, conferences and family support groups throughout Louisiana.


Director, Pre-Doctoral Program in Pediatric Dentistry
Pediatric Dentist Assistant Clinical Professor, New York University College of Dental Medicine
Adjunct Clinical Assistant Professor, Tufts University School of Dental Medicine Assistant Clinical Professor, New York University College of Dental Medicine

Dr. Serena Kassam completed her B.A/D.M.D at Tufts University and Pediatric Dental Residency through Lutheran Medical Center at St Josephs Hospital, In Providence RI. She then completed a research fellowship at New York University Langone Medical Center, Institute of Reconstructive Plastic Surgery, in Craniofacial Pediatric Dentistry and Nasoalveolar Molding She has worked as clinical attending with St Josephs Hospital (through Lutheran Medical Center), Clinical Assistant Professor at Tufts University School of Dental Medicine, and in private practice. She has served as the Team pediatric dentist with the Rhode Island and the Tufts Cleft and Craniofacial Teams and established NasoAlveolar Molding clinics at both sites. Dr. Kassam then joined New York University College of Dentistry in the position of Director of Pre-Doctoral Pediatric Dentistry and Assistant Clinical Professor. Through Global Smile Foundation, in 2012, they were able to establish a NasoAlveolar Molding clinic in Guayaquil, Ecuador. With training local healthcare providers, the clinic continues to run year round with bi yearly follow up and has expanded in 2015 to the establishment of a Comprehensive Cleft Care Center. Dr. Kassam is a Diplomate, American Board of Pediatric Dentistry and a Fellow, Royal College of Dentists of Canada. She also holds dental licenses in Massachusettes, Rhode Island and New York State.


Former Department Chair & Director of Postdoctoral Program in Prosthodontics
Boston University Institute for Dental Research & Education Dubai, UAE

Dr. Succaria is a diplomate of the American Board of Prosthodontics. He received his pre-doctoral dental degree in Beirut in 2003. He later completed a 3-year combined program at the Goldman School of Dental Medicine, receiving the Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study (CAGS) and Masters of Science in Dentistry (MSD) degree in prosthodontics in 2009. He served as full-time faculty and Department Chair and Director of the Postdoctoral Program in Prosthodontics at Boston University Institute for Dental Research & Education, Dubai, UAE, from March 2010 until June 2012. Dr. Succaria has conducted multiple studies related to prosthodontics and biomaterials science. He has served as mentor to prosthodontic residents for their research projects conducted to fulfill requirements for the MSD degree in prosthodontics. Dr. Succaria has presented nationally and internationally on numerous subjects, including color, contemporary ceramic materials, dentin bonding, restoration of endodontically treated teeth, and CAD/CAM dentistry.


Director of Pediatric Simulation & Associate Fellowship Program
Director Pediatric Critical Care Medicine, University of Florida 
Pediatric Intensive Care Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatrics, University of Florida

Dr. Munoz Pareja was born, raised, and partially educated in Colombia at Universidad del Norte. She completed her last 2 years of medical school at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, her Pediatric Residency training at Miami Children’s Hospital and her Pediatric Critical Care Fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital in the Harvard Medical School system. Her biggest passion is medical education and over the past years, she has pursued many opportunities to teach fellows, residents and medical students in both clinical and didactic settings. In gratitude to her teaching contributions to the Harvard medical students and pediatric residents, she was the recipient of the outstanding teaching Fellow award. Dr. Munoz Pareja has a strong scholarly focus on simulation and is currently leading the Pediatric Simulation Department at the University of Florida. Dr. Munoz Pareja also participated and led different research projects with a strong emphasis on investigating age-dependent differences in traumatic brain injury response and repair. For her outstanding research contributions, she was the recipient of the Best Physician in Training Award at the American Academy of Pediatrics in Oct 2013. Dr. Munoz Pareja has collaborated in three books and has presented her research in multiple venues. Dr. Munoz Pareja ultimate goal is to provide high quality healthcare in underserved populations and is currently an active member of a non-profit organization that aims to provide high quality surgical care to children with craniofacial abnormalities living in developing countries around the world. She plans to help implement well established US medical guidelines and protocols in developing countries with the goal of decreasing pediatric morbidity and mortality and aims to utilize simulation based training to reach those goals.


Nursing representative on the U.K. Medical Council Clinical Nurse Specialist, South Thames Cleft Service, Queen Victoria Hospital Cleft Team Based at Guys and St Thomas’ Hospitals, London, U.K.

Working autonomously and collaboratively as part of the multidisciplinary cleft team, Jackie is an outreach nurse specialist working across the south east Thames region, developing, implementing and evaluating a seamless specialist cleft service in the community. Jackie manages a diverse case load of clinically complex patients, offering a provision of clinical care, counselling, advice, education and support to parents and children throughout treatment in hospital, home and clinic. Her role includes support of ante natal cleft diagnosis, specialist feeding assessment of infants born with cleft lip and palate, and promoting an holistic approach to care within the team and wider agencies. Jackie actively participates in local, national and international networking to develop and maintain an expert level of knowledge within the speciality. As an Operation Smile medical volunteer, Jackie has worked as a recovery room nurse on various international missions and is the nursing representative on Operation Smile’s UK Medical Council where she screens and supports potential volunteers. She also helps to credential and train nursing staff on international missions. Jackie’s career includes working as a Health Visitor and mentor, medical trainer with Virgin Atlantic Airways and ward sister for a leading private hospital. She has extensive theatre recovery experience which reinforces support for families’ pre and post surgical pathway for cleft repair. Publication of journal articles continues her passion for education and communication. 


Clinical Nurse Specialist
Cleft Lip and Palate at Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Foundation Trust

Helen is a Clinical Nurse Specialist working for the North Thames Cleft Service based at Great Ormond Street Hospital, London. The service is the largest in the UK treating on average 150-180 new babies born each year with cleft lip and/or palate. Helen’s role involves working as a patient representative and coordinator within the multi-disciplinary team. Beginning at antenatal diagnosis, Helen’s support of the patient and family progresses through to birth and into childhood concurrently with surgical procedures. Key aspects of her role include parental support, early feeding advice and optimising patients’ health leading up to, and recovering from, cleft surgery. Helen has worked within Cleft Lip and Palate care for the majority of her nursing career. She first became interested during her training, which included travelling to North East India to work within pre- and post-operative care of children and adults undergoing cleft surgery. This visit included co-authoring a report exploring the influence of gender, maternal education and family culture on childhood malnutrition. The report enabled streamlined Nutritional Programmes to be specifically constructed and transferred across multiple centres to meet the needs of each patient cohort. Helen has continued to focus her role around the research and evidence-based practice underpinning cleft care, and is an active member of the Clinical Excellence Network for Cleft Lip and Palate nurses in UK.


Otolaryngology Specialty Nurse & Cleft Lip and Palate Team Coordinator
Arkansas Children’s Hospital 

Lucia is a registered nurse practicing as an otolaryngology specialty nurse and the Cleft Lip and Palate Team coordinator at Arkansas Children’s Hospital (ACH) in Little Rock, AR. This team is accredited by the American Cleft-Craniofacial Palate Association and is one of the largest cleft teams in the United States. This team is currently treating 60-70 new babies born each year with cleft lip and/or palate. Lucia’s role within this multidisciplinary team consists of coordinating all disciplines of cleft care to include ENT, audiology, speech pathology, nutrition, genetics, neuropsychology, orthodontics, periodontics, dental, oral surgery and plastic surgery for continuity and efficiency in care. She also serves as an active patient advocate and provides education related to diagnosis, treatment and feeding. Beginning in the prenatal or initial diagnosis stage, Lucia supports the patient and family up until all medically necessary treatment is complete, which can be into young adulthood. Lucia has been the cleft team coordinator for the last 4 years of her nursing career. She previously worked in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit for 8 years prior to transferring over to the cleft team. She took interest in cleft care after working with cleft patients within the NICU and seeing the extensive need for continuity and streamline coordination of cleft care. Lucia is active within her cleft team and has been an integral part in launching the nasal alveolar molding (NAM) program at ACH this year. She leads the planning committee for an annual one day camp called Camp Laughter, which is aimed towards kids with cleft and craniofacial differences. She also started the 1st cleft team family advisory board at ACH, which allows parents to identify and implement quality improvement measures within their cleft team. Lucia has a love for humanitarian work close to home and abroad. She has traveled to Tegucigalpa, Honduras to assist with oral maxillofacial surgery and care. She is also heavily involved with Global Smile Foundation, and has traveled to Guayaquil, Ecuador as the peri-operative nurse. She is also working with the Global Smile Foundation-Ecuador team to establish/implement a self-sustaining cleft team, with a long term goal of being able to obtain accreditation for this team. Lucia is an active member of the American Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Association and continues to strive to empower families to be advocates for their children, but also being a cleft advocate to her community and hospital.


Child Psychologist, Himaya, Lebanon 

Joy Abi Habib pursued her studies in Psychology at “Université Paris Descartes” and holds a Master’s degree in Social Psychology . She also holds a diploma in Social Entrepreneurship from the "Ecole Libanaise de Formation Sociale", at Saint Joseph University. Joy worked as a psychologist at himaya, a Lebanese NGO who offers psychosocial support to children who suffered abuse and their families, she is currently the External Program Coordinator for the Resilience program. Himaya has been partnering with GSF for the past 4 years offering psychosocial support to the patients and their families during the annual mission. Joy also teaches a course on Developmental Psychology to first year students in social work at Saint Joseph University, ELFS."


Course CME Activity Director 
Professor of Clinical Surgery 
Head, Trauma Services and Surgical Critical Care
Director, Continuing Medical Education office
Attending in the Department of Emergency Medicine American University of Beirut Medical Center, Beirut, Lebanon

Dr. Abi Saad was the Ex-president of the Lebanese Society of Critical Care Medicine - LSCCM and he is Middle East Representative in the Council of European Society of Intensive Care Medicine (ESICM) and the Vice president of Pan Arab Society of Critical Care Medicine (IPACCMS) He was selected to be the chairman of the Advanced Trauma Life Support in Lebanon and the MENA region. He is also the national director of the Advanced Trauma Care for Nurses and the Pre-Hospital Trauma Life Support course in Lebanon. Dr. Abi Saad have many publications in the field of Trauma, surgical critical care and general surgery. He is a member of many hospital committees including Hospital Mortality and Morbidity, Nutrition Committee, Blood and Blood products Committee and Critical Care Committee