Career-changing, Life-changing

FACES Foundation takes pride in the ability to provide life-changing surgeries for children in Peru. The children, however, are not the only ones to have their lives changed: members of the FACES Surgical Team often remark on the impact their service has on their personal lives. Two young team members in particular had very meaningful experiences.

Makena Julia photo





Makena Kerr and Julia Davis are both high school seniors who are interested in pursuing careers in medicine. Their service with FACES has given them a vision of the impact they can make as trained medical professionals.


Dr. Jessyka Lighthall (left) shows Makena the details of a cleft repair

Makena Kerr joined the team in the position of Patient Representative. She herself has undergone several cleft surgeries, allowing her to empathize with the patients on a profound level. Her mother, Barbara, also supported FACES by traveling with her daughter and speaking with the patient’s families, comforting them and providing valuable insight from a mother’s perspective.

Makena hopes to be a surgeon, and in a recent interview with the Columbian about her experience with FACES, she said, “It really touched me how one surgery could touch a child’s life. It makes me want to be a surgeon even more. I really want to go on medical missions as a surgeon.”  Click here to read more.


Julia Davis learned of FACES Foundation from her Aunt, Beth deLaney, a recovery room

Julia observes bedside manner from her aunt, Beth, who is the FACES Team Lead for recovery nursing

nurse who has volunteered with FACES for the past three years. Last summer, Julia traveled to Panama for a month of community service and language immersion.  She joined the FACES team in Peru this year as an interpreter. Of her experience, she wrote the following:

“This trip inspired my heart and my mind. My appreciation and knowledge of other cultures grew in just one week. I learned more then I ever thought I could have: solidifying my aspirations to become a nurse, no longer shying away from my dreams, and finding a passion and respect to those on the team who have dedicate their lives to helping others. I am so appreciative for the relationships formed with the inspired medical team, dedicated family members of the brave patients, and supportive community members. I will never forget the gratitude felt by the families, hugging and kissing us as they left the hospitals with mementos of photographs.”



Benefit Auction a Huge Success

It was an evening of fine dining, fundraising, and friend-making: An immense success on many levels, thanks to all of you who came and contributed.


I hope your memories are as sweet as ours. Your participation will bless the live of many families.


A special congratulations to James Huntzicker, winner of the Tesla Test Drive Raffle!


Click here to see photos from the evening

(courtesy of Leah Bachhuber and Tom Bunker).

Many people made this event possible. We would like to thank the following for their generosity:  For their generosity:

Andina: John, Doris, and Peter Platt and the whole Andina family for hosting us once again in their elegant Tupai room with delicious food and drink.

Our Donors and Supporters
Our generous donors for providing live auction, buy-it-now, and raffle items:

This is a wonderful group of people and locally-owned businesses. In thanks to their generosity, please consider supporting these businesses year-round.

Peru Lions Use Training and Put on Vision Campaign

The Lambayeque Lions, close partners of FACES Foundation, are at it again and have put on a massive vision and hearing campaign in Lambayeque, Peru. In December 2013 members of the Lions Clubs from the Portland area visited the Lambayeque Lions to present them with equipment purchased using a Lions Club International Foundation Grant, and continue training them on how to use this equipment. The Lambayeque Lions have surely been putting this training to good use!

At this screening, they handed out hearing aids and over 300 pairs of glasses at the Municipal Senior Center. Great job, Lions! We are proud to have such a wonderful partner organization.

FACES Celebrates Fifth Successful Cleft Trip Led by Dr. Dana Smith

2014-01-21 06.46.24

The 2014 Cleft Lip and Palate Surgical Trip to Peru was a monumental one for FACES for many reasons. The team operated on 37 patients from northern Peru, an increase from previous years, and they were able to perform numerous operations ranging from cleft lip and palate, to Stahl’s ear deformity corrections, to rhinoplasties. The FACES Surgical Team also operated, for the first time ever, at Hospital Regional Lambayeque (HRL), a modern, state-of-the-art government hospital in the region. This represents a major step for FACES, because the partnership with HRL opens up new possibilities for treating indigent cleft lip and palate patients in Peru.

A major piece of FACES’ success over the past half-a-decade has been the surgical trip leadership of Dr. Dana Smith, a senior Facial Plastic & Reconstructive Surgeon, in Portland, Oregon. Dr. Smith, who has a long-standing vested interest in international reconstructive work, has been leading the FACES Foundation surgical trips since 2009. During this time period, FACES has become a highly trusted organization in the community due to the fantastic surgical results and high standard of care given.

Dr. Smith originally became interested in international medical work in medical school at Vanderbilt University, where he participated in a one-month surgical elective in rural Ecuador. During this time he observed many tropical diseases not seen in the US and was able to work with a volunteer general surgeon from Germany.

Since then, Dr. Smith has gone on to take part in and lead multiple international surgical trips, all while maintaining his medical practice in Oregon. In 2007 he performed surgeries in Ekaterinburg, Russia, on a mission trip with American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Face to Face Surgical Mission. His next seven surgical mission trips were in Peru, mostly with FACES Foundation, during which he has operated on hundreds of cleft lip and palate patients, most from impoverished, rural regions of Peru.

Dr. Thomas Albert, President of FACES and an oral-maxillofacial surgeon in Portland, has worked together with Dr. Smith in Peru and Oregon. “Having observed and worked with him for many years, I can say that he is a highly competent surgeon on many levels.  Surgically, he has a great depth of knowledge concerning anatomy, techniques and outcomes. In addition, he has a superb sense of how to handle tissue and distorted anatomy, a creative ability to solve complex 3-dimensional problems, and a dedication to excellence. His assessment starts with understanding the patient and their situation, and expands with his knowledge of options and outcomes,” explains Dr. Albert, a veteran surgeon at Oregon Health and Science University. “As the Director of Surgical Team for FACES, he has consistently fostered a positive attitude in sometimes trying circumstances, achieving high quality results on all levels.”

FACES, which operates out of Lambayeque, Peru, has been welcomed back by the community over and over, thanks to the highly skilled medical team Dr. Smith has been able to build over the years.

“Dr. Smith brings to the OR an attitude of calm professionalism, gracefully responding to interruptions and questions from students and staff,” said Kelly Jensen, a FACES Board Members and surgical team member. “His work ethic inspires others to match his goal of taking care of as many patients as possible during cleft campaigns.”

FACES extends our greatest thanks to Dr. Smith for leading the team to many years of success, and looks forward to many more fruitful surgical campaigns in the future under his leadership!

IMG_4553 IMG_1129 IMG_2255 IMG_2507 IMG_2533

FACES Receives $12,870 Grant from Dorothea Haus Ross Foundation

Screen Shot 2013-06-24 at 11.30.53 AM

FACES recently received a generous grant of $12,870 from Dorothea Haus Ross Foundation in support of their surgical and health-care activities in northern Peru. The funds from the grant will be used by FACES to purchase equipment to help expand the surgical efforts, including the purchase of a pediatric nasopharyngoscope. This scope will be used by the surgeons to study the anatomy of a child’s palate, making it easier to decipher which course of treatment and surgery would be a best fit.

The Dorothea Haus Ross Foundation, based in Rochester, NY, has a mission to support organizations, like FACES, that serve vulnerable children around the world. The Dorothea Haus Ross Foundation has a number of funding priorities for their grants, including organizations that work with ill or disabled children.

FACES is thrilled to receive this grant from the Dorothea Haus Ross Foundation, and is looking forward to using the equipment they will be able to purchase to expand their surgical mission in northern Peru. FACES is aiming to treat more patients on their upcoming surgical trip to Peru, including a higher number of patients with other craniofacial anomalies, in addition to their continued work with cleft lip and palate.

Relief Society Donates Handmade Blankets for FACES’ Cleft Patients

FACES Foundation would like to extend the warmest of thank you’s to a wonderful organization, the Relief Society, which so generously volunteered their time to hand-sew blankets for the FACES Foundation cleft patients and their families in northern Peru! We are honored that this group picked FACES to work with on this wonderful project. Waking up after a cleft surgery is scary for our patients – they are in a new place, often without all their family there. To wake up after surgery wrapped in a blanket, handmade with love, will make the experience all the better for them. Thank you to all who were involved in this effort! You can read the account of the project below:  During its surgical campaigns, FACES presents blankets to mothers of small children who receive cleft surgeries.  This tradition began when team member CRNA Brian Ryder and his family enlisted church volunteers to sew blankets that Brian carried to Peru.  Kelly and Pam Jensen are lending another hand to this effort with the support of the Tualatin/Tigard chapter of the Relief Society (the women’s service organization of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints). On a Saturday morning in April, 200 Relief Society members  gathered for a humanitarian conference.  These women came to sew, craft, and assemble items for donation to local non-profit organizations. The Jensens enlisted one team of volunteers to complete a project for the FACES Foundation.  This team consisted of several women who have ties to Latin American countries including Peru, Chile, El Salvador, and Mexico.  Several of the volunteers are long-time supporters of FACES, including Miriam Hunter and Pam Jensen.  Miriam, whose family is from Lima, Peru, was eager to contribute her talents to this project for FACES. By the end of the conference, hundreds of items had been completed and were ready for delivery to local hospitals, shelters, schools, and various other charitable organizations.  The blankets for the FACES patients will be delivered in January 2014 when the FACES surgical team returns to Lambayeque.

FACES/Andina Featured in the Oregonian

As the saying goes, “It takes a village to raise a child.” It also takes a village to help heal a child with a cleft lip or palate. FACES is extremely proud of the partnerships we have been able to build in Oregon and in Peru. One of the enduring partnerships throughout the years has been with the owners of Portland’s finest Peruvian Restaurant, Andina. Doris and John Platt have been supporters of FACES from the very beginning and FACES continues to hold its yearly fundraising auction at Andina.

The philanthropic work of Doris Platt and her work with organizations, like FACES, that work in Peru, was recently featured in the Oregonian.

You can read the full story here: “Pearl District restaurant Andina supports Portland non-profits, needy in Peru

FACES Foundation Adopts SOAPware Electronic Health Record

FACES Foundation recently adopted a new medical record keeping system, which was generously donated to the Foundation from SOAPware Inc. The new system will help FACES provide high-quality care for its medically underserved clients with a new level of coordination. SOAPware Inc. will work closely alongside FACES to deliver a solution which can accommodate the Foundation’s needs for individual patient follow-up and collaboration with numerous local community resources.

Dedicated to offering comprehensive care beyond surgery alone for indigent, medically isolated patients with cleft lip and palate deformities, the FACES Foundation has transformed hundreds of lives by performing corrective surgeries in conjunction with their individualized and holistic follow-up services. The Foundation has long used a unique, internet-based model to connect with their international patients, and looks forward to integrating their current capabilities with those an EHR can provide.

As FACES Foundation President Dr. Thomas Albert MD, DMD, maintains, “Having a reliable, flexible EHR allows for much better follow up and data collection. It is a crucial part of trying to provide the same level of care as we do for patients in the US. The generous contribution from SOAPware will help tremendously in our mission.”

With over 20 years of experience in the industry, SOAPware Inc. has an established record of promoting the continuity and efficiency of medical care in practices across the globe. “SOAPware is privileged to work with the FACES Foundation,” says Randall Oates, M.D., Founder and President of SOAPware, Inc. “By empowering medical professionals with innovative technology and services, we believe that we can improve healthcare and the quality of life for patients worldwide.”

FACES is thrilled to be using this new Electronic Health Record, which will make operations smoother while in Peru, and will allow for greater opportunity for data capture and analysis.

FACES Receives $3,000 Grant from Integra Foundation

FACES is thrilled to announce that they have received a grant of $3,000 to support their health and medical efforts in Peru from the Integra Foundation. The Integra Foundation, based in New Jersey, is a philanthropic foundation that focuses on funding innovation and humanitarian work in the areas of neurosurgery, reconstructive surgery and general surgery. Integra Foundation is dedicated to “advancing innovative medical and healthcare research and education to improve the outcome and quality of life for patients and their communities.”

The FACES team is honored to receive this financial support from the Integra Foundation and looks forward to upholding their shared missions on surgical mission trips and healthcare promotion work in South America.

Screen Shot 2012-12-21 at 12.27.12 PM