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Operation Smile

Operation Smile Guatemala

As one of two Surgeon Champions for the Operation Smile Champions Program in Guatemala, Dana Johns, MD, plastic surgeon at University of Utah Health, specializing in craniofacial surgery, has worked with the leaders of the Operation Smile Guatemala team to set up and implement training local plastic and general surgeons to do cleft surgeries.

Operation Smile is a hub and spoke model with the center focused in Guatemala City. Two of the four planned spokes are now up and running this year, one in Escuintla and the other in Peten. The team runs six trips per year. Dr. Johns will be attending two in Escuintla, and has helped to build the teams needed to complete the additional trips.

Operation Smile also gives lectures to local medical students and residents on craniofacial topics during the trips. An additional focus of this program is to help start a plastic surgery training program at one of the local Universities. Dr. Johns and team has been working with the Dean of the medical university to get this up and running. The overall goal of the program is to improve access to cleft and plastic surgery care for Guatemalans through increasing local access.