FACES Foundation is a non-profit (501c3) with a mission to model comprehensive, high quality care for indigent, medically isolated patients with cleft lip and palate deformities – beyond surgery alone – in a locally sustainable manner.
Our goal is that every child dealing with the stigma of cleft lip and palate should be able to obtain surgery, no matter their financial situation or geographic barriers. Treating cleft lip and palate and facial anomalies is not easy, as it requires continuous follow-up care long after surgery. FACES is one of the few international cleft teams that is endorsed by the American Cleft Palate Association.
FACES (Foundation for the Advancement of Cleft Education and Services), founded in 2001, has performed hundreds of cleft lip and palate surgeries on medically isolated patients. Providing cleft surgery is just the tip of the iceberg for our program – we also provide speech therapy over the Internet, social services, dental care, orthodontia and other general healthcare and family support. We are adamant that our program involve many local partners at our project sites: we believe that partnering with local organizations provides exponential added benefit to the community, the families, and the children with cleft. We have spent the last six years building our program in Lambayeque, Peru, in the northern region of the country. We have many close partners, one of the main ones is the Lions Club. The Lambayeque women’s Lions Club (Ciudad Evocadora Lambayeque) has been working with us for years to find cleft patients from rural regions. They help find, transport, house and care for the patients once they arrive at the hospital. We also work with Portland-area Lions Clubs on developing new projects: we are working with these Lions Clubs to create a regional sight and hearing screening program and referral system in northern Peru.
One of our strengths is making use of technology in innovative ways to help those most in need. After a cleft lip and palate surgery, the patients often needs speech therapy to learn how to move their tongue and lips properly. This came as a challenge because our patients are indigent and live in rural parts of Peru. We developed the FACES Connectivity Model to solve this challenge. Using 3G, 4G and WiFi technology we connect with our patients using laptops and webcams. Our Portland-based speech therapists connect with patients over the Internet and provide speech therapy. Using the model we’ve created, we teach our patients how to make the sounds of speech with their tongue and mouth, a necessary step to help them function fully in their homes, families and communities. Being able to speak clearly and be understood, something many of us take for granted, gives our patients a new life and new opportunities. The FACES Foundation Non-Discrimination Policy can be found here.
I want to: learn about cleft lip and palate.
I want to: learn about FACES and telemedicine.
I want to: read FACES stories.
I want to: see FACES photo albums.
President and Founder
Dr. Tom Albert is a professor at Oregon Health Sciences University in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery as well a Otolaryngology/Head & Neck Surgery in Portland, Oregon. He received both his medical (MD) and dental (DMD) training at Harvard, completing his residency at the Massachusetts General Hospital before joining the faculty at OHSU.Dr. Albert was involved in an extensive medical education effort concerning cleft care with Project Hope in China from 1983-1993 and has continued to be involved independently since then. His interest has been to develop ways to extend truly comprehensive cleft care beyond surgery alone to difficult to reach populations.
Leah Olson, previously the Director of Develpoment and Communications, has worked with FACES Foundation since 2011. Her background is in journalism and communication and she has always focused on reporting about public and global health issues. She graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in journalism and Japanese and spent the year after college working as a journalist in Kathmandu, Nepal. After her year in Nepal she worked for Yale University’s Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity before returning to her native Portland to join the FACES team. She is profoundly interested in medicine, and how to deliver the best care to underserved populations both internationally and locally.
Peru Patient Coordinator
Delia Delgado Maldonado is FACES’s Peru Patient Coordinator, working with all patients, families and partners on the ground in Peru. In addition to working with FACES, she is also an English teacher in Chiclayo, Peru, and studied languages at university. She enjoys meeting new people and visiting new places when she is not working. Delia loves her work with FACES because she is in direct contact with so many people, and she gains great satisfaction in helping to improve people’s lives.
Board of Directors
Thomas W. Albert, MD, DMD. President.
Kelly T. Jensen, MBA. Management Consultant in healthcare operations and information systems. AB and MBA, Harvard University. As a management consultant for 30+ years, Kelly assists organizations to improve strategy and operations. He brings to FACES business experience from Kaiser Permanente, Baxter Healthcare, PricewaterhouseCoopers, companies large and small, and state and federal agencies. Kelly also contributes volunteer experience from the Harvard Alumni Club of Oregon (past president), the Harvard Business School Association of Oregon (president), the Boy Scouts, youth sports, and church service. Once a missionary in Argentina, Kelly values the tremendous service and goodwill that FACES brings to the many lives it touches. As a FACES board member, he guides long term planning, serves as an interpreter on surgical trips, and builds community relations in Peru and the U.S.
Jerome List, MD, DMD. ENT surgeon currently practicing in Anchorage, Alaska. Extensive international experience and training. Dr List is involved extensively in Health Systems Management, Electronic interfaces, development of Electronic Health Record Systems. He enjoys flying in Alaska, photography, construction, wood and metal working, as well as anything that gets him into the wild.
Dr. Dana Smith, MD. Facial Plastic & Reconstructive Surgeon who is currently Director of the Kaiser Cleft/Craniofacial Multidisciplinary Clinic in Portland. He has been actively involved in cleft surgery here and abroad for a number of years and currently directs the FACES Cleft Surgery Team for Peru.
Dr. Michael Kim, MD. Facial Plastic & Reconstructive Surgeon at OHSU. Dr. Kim, a Seattle native, graduated from Princeton University, University of Washington School of Medicine, and the Johns Hopkins Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery Residency. He reestablished his Northwest roots by training in Facial Plastic Surgery at OHSU, where he is now on staff after a two-year stint at the Mayo Clinic Arizona. He has been actively involved in Cleft and Craniofacial Surgery since medical school, and will help lead future FACES Cleft Surgery Teams to Peru.
Greg Spehar, MBA. Greg has been a Management Consultant for 20+ years, he has assisted many organizations migrating financial systems and developing financially driven strategies. He brings to FACES extensive experience from PGE, Regence Blue Cross Blue Shield, Oregon Employment Department, Intel, BPA, Kaiser Permanente, NASA, and other companies, state and federal agencies. Greg also has in-depth peruvian experience since he has family from Peru and is aware of the impact the FACES organization has on affected families. As a FACES board member, he brings a critical eye to the financial underpinnings and provides a solid financial guidance to ensure that the surgical trips are properly funded and the overall operations are managed to maintain the necessary financial support.
Steve Griffith, JD. Trial lawyer with the firm of Stoel Rives in Portland, OR.
Dr. Lisa Morris, MD – Otolaryngological/Craniofacial Fellow – Syracuse University
Gay & Garth Smith - Founders and directors of the Café Femenino Foundation dedicated to improving the lives of women coffee producers.
Dr. Walter Guralnick, DMD - Professor Emeritus of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery at Harvard Medical and Dental Schools.
Dr. Sharon Higgins, MD - President & Executive Medical Director of Northwest Permanente, PC.
Dr. Alejandro Chira, MD - G.I. Specialist, Belen Hospital (Peru)
Rob Nicholson, MD - Emergency Room Physician in Bellingham, Washington. Rob has been on several of the FACES trips to Peru. He is passionate about white water kayaking, climbing and windsurfing.
Rodney Norton, JD - Attorney with Hoffman, Hart & Wagner in Portland, Oregon. Previously Head of Risk Management for OHSU.
Jacob Reiss, MD - Pediatric Geneticist at Kaiser NW.
Harry Schwartz MD, DMD - Maxillofacial Surgeon at Kaiser in Southern California.
Mei Ling Schwartz, MPH - Director Health & Physician Education for Kaiser Permanente, Southern California.