Operation Smile was founded in 1982 when Dr. William (Bill) P. Magee, Jr., a plastic surgeon, and his wife, Kathy, a nurse and clinical social worker, traveled to the Philippines with a group of medical volunteers to repair children's cleft lips and cleft palates.
What they found was overwhelming. In Naga City, approximately 300 families arrived hoping their children would receive surgery, but the team could only treat 40 children.
They saw the need and Operation Smile was born. Since that time, hundreds of thousands of children’s lives have been transformed through the gift of free surgeries, provided by volunteer surgeons in 60 countries. Over 5,000 medical professionals donate their time to help ensure that every child can receive safe and effective surgery and proper medical care.
Now the organization is committed to helping more children and breaking down obstacles to surgery through education, training, medical diplomacy and advocacy. Operation Smile does that by working together with government agencies, local health systems, nonprofit organizations and any like-minded partners to deliver surgery and care.