Giving back is good for you as well as those who you are helping, according to a wealth of research on the positive effects of volunteerism.
From participating in medical missions to Third World countries to organizing a bra drive in your office, many opportunities exist for PSP readers to give back:
The Little Baby Face Foundation transforms the lives of children born with facial deformities through corrective surgery. Surgeons and medical providers in New York City volunteer their time to provide the best corrective surgery and medical care to children and their families who are in financial need worldwide.
Breast Oasis is a nonprofit charitable organization dedicated to providing bras to women who may not be able to afford them. A Bra Identification Number (BIN) will be assigned to every donation. It is sent to donors and given to recipients with the donation. The BIN will enable both to anonymously create and access comments of encouragement and gratitude. Doctors can start their own bra drives through Breast Oasis.
Reconstructing Hope® is a 501(c)(3) organization that provides reconstructive and aesthetic surgical services principally to survivors of domestic abuse in the New York City metropolitan area. The group is always looking for new people to support their efforts.
Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières delivers emergency medical aid to people affected by conflict, epidemics, disasters, or exclusion from health care in nearly 60 countries worldwide. Every year, around 3,000 field workers provide life-saving medical assistance to people who would otherwise be denied access to even the most basic health care.
Operation Smile provides free surgeries to repair cleft lip, cleft palate, and other facial deformities for children around the globe. Operation Smile is in greater need of cleft surgeons, anesthesiologists, pediatric anesthesiologists, general pediatricians, dentists, orthodontists, periodontists, endodontists, and nurses.
Smile Train provides free cleft surgery for children in 87 countries. The group’s focus is on partnering with local surgeons in developing countries to provide free cleft care and follow-up services 24/7, 365 days a year. This model does not provide many volunteer opportunities in the field, but please contact a local US cleft team for opportunities to support cleft care in your own community.
The American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (AAFPRS) has been volunteering to treat US veterans since 2009 when its Faces of Honor program was founded. Faces of Honor connects injured soldiers who have sustained facial injuries in the line of duty with facial plastic surgeons willing to provide their services pro bono.
The AAFPRS’ Face to Face program is a humanitarian program that offers pro bono facial plastic and reconstructive surgery to domestic violence survivors to repair injuries on the face, head, and neck caused by an intimate partner or spouse. The physicians who have participated in the program have helped more than 2,500 women since its inception in 1995.
Founded in 1992, Face to Face: International is a humanitarian and educational surgical exchange program sponsored by the Educational and Research Foundation for the AAFPRS. Along with providing medical assistance to those affected by domestic violence in the United States, AAFPRS’ Face to Face International parrticipants travel the world to provide complimentary care for those afflicted by facial deformities sustained at birth or by disease or war. In addition, AAFPRS members share their knowledge and the latest techniques in facial plastic surgery with their international colleagues.
The mission statement for Restore is: “Together, we R.E.S.T.O.R.E. hope, function, and aesthetic form to where it once existed or ‘how things ought to be.’ ” The organization undertakes mission projects to other countries to provide free reconstructive surgery and related medical services to abused children and battered individuals with accidental and congenital deformities. RESTORE is currently accepting volunteers for its upcoming Humanitarian Mission in Ghana, September 19-28, 2014.
Founded by Orange County, Calif, surgeon Michael W. Niccole, MD, the Magic Mirror Foundation offers pro bono plastic surgery for individuals born with deformities as well. A percentage of every surgery performed at CosmetiCare is donated back to the nonprofit.