Success Stories
2019 mission to Ica, Peru

The Northeast and Northern California divisions of Healing the Children recently completed their sixth annual cleft lip and palate mission to Ica, Peru. In partnership with the AAFPRS Foundation’s FACE TO FACE Program, the 36- person mission team was again led by Dr. Evan Ransom, an ABFPRS certified facial plastic surgeon from San Francisco, CA and Dr. Joseph Rousso, MD, FACS, an ABFPRS certified facial plastic surgeon from the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai. Additional surgical staff included Augustine Moscatello MD, an otolaryngologist practicing in Westchester, NY, Jordan Virbalas, MD a pediatric otolaryngologist from UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital in Oakland, CA, Benjamin Stong MD, a facial plastic surgeon in Atlanta, Georgia, Kirk Lozada MD, a fifth year otolaryngology resident from the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai, New York, NY and Mary Xu, MD a third year otolaryngology resident from the University of California, San Francisco. Anesthesia care was provided by Wayne Martin, MD and Douglas Borg, MD of Cook Children’s Hospital in Fort Worth, TX, Amit Gupta, MD of Benioff Children’s Hospital in Oakland, CA, Federico River, MD of Rhode Island (will add his info), and Bahram Jahanbakhsh MD of Harlem Hospital New York, NY.

Our team was greeted on screening day by a room full of excited and anxious parents and children, some of who traveled up to 48 hours to reach The Hospital Regional de Ica and others who traveled by plane with the help of the Peruvian army. After a rousing opening ceremony, the team began screening the patients in what was undoubtedly the start of an extremely busy mission trip! With the assistance of pediatricians, speech and language pathologists, anesthesiologists, nursing staff and several local medical student volunteers, the team set a record with a total of 137 patients screened in one day. From this group, the surgical team successfully completed 78 procedures on 75 patients during the week – highlighted by 27 primary cleft lip repairs, 28 cleft palate repairs, 3 first stage microtia repairs, one second stage microtia repair, 3 cleft rhinoplasties, one macrostomia repair, and 6 minor procedures including skin tags, fenulectomies, and uvulaplasties. Once again, the speech and language pathology group worked with a large group of previously-repaired patients, as well as children from the community with non-surgical speech and swallowing disorders. It was a very busy 5 days, but each member was thankful to be able to help so many children and families in such a short period of time. The volume of patients treated was a product of the amazing outreach coordinators who work all year and the quality of care was due to the entire team both from the United States and Peru.

The team is already planning for next year, with ongoing efforts to expand patient recruitment and surgical care during the week. To get involved with charitable programs through FACE TO FACE and/or Healing the Children, or make a donation, please visit us online at, and


FACE TO FACE consists of three volunteer programs: International, Domestic Violence and Faces of Honor (Military). Dr. Abraham is the current Chair of FACE TO FACE for the AAFPRS. This program is only open to AAFPRS (American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery) members as a members’ benefit. Some of our traveling doctors who are members of the AAFPRS led by Dr. Abraham helped to design and build the FACE TO FACE database. The database launched in 2014 with just 84 patients, and now has over 2300. There is a Physicians Guide available through AAFPRS that outlines in detail the procedures for each of these three programs, including how to sanction an international mission to have it included in the database.

About Healing the Children

Healing the Children Northeast, Inc. is a non-profit, nonpartisan, volunteer organization dedicated to providing donated medical care to children in need. There are now 17 chapters in 22 states across the U.S. who work cooperatively to provide these services worldwide. Missions continue to focus on cleft lip and palate repair, dental care, and general plastics reconstructive surgery. To date, over 53,000 children have been helped alone through our Medical Teams Abroad Program. To get involved or make a donation, please visit and

2018 mission to Ica, Peru

The 2018 Mission to Ica, Peru was a huge success. A team of 38 volunteers, including doctors, nurses, technicians, speech therapists, and administrators traveled to Ica this year. We worked with about 125 patients and performed 78 surgeries. We are already looking forward to next year and plan to return in April 2019.

2017 mission to Ica, Peru

The 2017 Healing the Children mission to Ica, Peru is complete! We had a tremendous group of volunteers and we’re able to help many babies and children during the week. Overall, 128 patients were screened and 68 surgeries were performed. This includes 25 cleft lips repairs, 30 cleft palate and pharyngeal surgeries, 2 microtia surgeries, and one cleft rhinoplasty. In addition, our speech therapy team worked with 85 children to improve their phonation and pronunciation.

We are extremely grateful to the people and government of Ica and to our local coordinators. In addition, the staff and administration of the Hospital Regional de Ica played an essential role in creating a space for this mission to succeed. Plans are already underway for 2018, and we look forward to returning next April.

May 2016 mission to Ica, Peru

San Francisco

Alma was born with a cleft lip and palate. Her eating and drinking were greatly affected by the deformity, and medical care was limited in her town. Alma’s mother heard through an outreach program about our mission in Ica. She traveled to the city of Ica, looking for hope. She found it with Healing The Children. At just 4 months old, Alma went in for surgery to repair her cleft lip with Dr. Evan Ransom. With the help of his team of medical volunteers, Dr. Ransom completed the two hour surgery to close her cleft lip. In just a short time, Alma’s life would be forever changed. The hope is that next year, with both new and old medical volunteers, Alma will return to have her cleft palate repaired.

Alma’s gentle, happy spirit was infectious to the entire staff, and the moment that Alma’s mother was able to see her daughter for the first time post-repair, is a moment that the entire staff will never forget. Alma’s story is just a small glimpse of how Healing the Children has changed the lives of all involved; patients, families and volunteers.