The stars were out and all-smiles at the Smile Train 20th Anniversary Gala on May 2 in New York City.
The event, sponsored in part by Texas Children’s Hospital, honored the memory of Smile Train founder Charles B. Wang and served as the launch for a year of celebrations of impact across the globe. It featured a performance by Alexa Ray Joel and appearances by many special guests, including NBA legend, former Houston Rocket and Smile Train partner, Dikembe Mutumbo.
Smile Train also recognized three exceptional honorees for their support of the organization and its mission. These were Graham Elliot, the award-winning chef, restaurateur and television personality; Paula Shugart, President of The Miss Universe Organization; and the Chairman of Smile Train’s Medical Advisory Board, Texas Children’s Surgeon-in-Chief Dr. Larry Hollier.
“I would like to thank Charles Wang for the confidence he placed in me by naming me chair of the Medical Advisory Board,” Hollier said in his remarks. “It has been one of the biggest honors of my professional life.”
Smile Train is an international children’s charity and the largest surgical non-governmental organization in the world. Through its sustainable model, Smile Train empowers local medical professionals with training, funding and resources to provide free cleft lip and palate surgery and comprehensive care to children around the world.
A cleft occurs when certain body parts and structures do not fuse together during fetal development. Clefts can involve the lip and/or the roof of the mouth, which is made up of both hard and soft palate. If left untreated, the conditions can cause children to have difficulty eating, breathing, hearing and speaking. Many children with clefts live in isolation, and too many will never receive the reconstructive surgery they need.
Smile Train supervises the quality and safety of surgery on approximately 130,000 children every year and has provided surgery for approximately 1.6 million children in 85 countries over the past 20 years.
Cleft lip and palate care at Texas Children’s
Cleft repair surgery is safe, and the transformation is immediate. Texas Children’s Hospital specializes in the comprehensive care of patients born with these conditions at our Cleft Lip and Palate Clinic. Our multidisciplinary team has over 40 years of experience treating these particular issues, and each patient’s care is tailored to their specific needs.
The team consists of:
- Plastic surgeon
- Pediatric dentist
- Craniofacial orthodontist
- Otolaryngologist or ear, nose and throat specialist (ENT)
- Speech pathologist
- Craniofacial nurse
- Genetic counselor
- Social worker
Hear more about Texas Children’s world-class cleft lip and palate care from Chief of Plastic Surgery Dr. Edward Buchanan in this month’s featured “Medically Speaking” episode on Connect.