Who We Are – San Francisco

Healing the Children Northern California (HTC NorCal) is a volunteer, non-profit organization dedicated to helping children all over the world who are in need of specialized medical and surgical care that is not available to them in their home country. Our specific focus is on cleft lip and palate deformities, as well as other facial, head, and neck birth defects. Many children worldwide have correctible facial birth defects, but due to a lack of medical and financial resources, repair is not possible for them. This can have adverse effects on all aspects of their lives, in the present and future. Our passion is to make a positive change in the lives of all the patients and families who come to us for the healing that they so desperately need.

Healing the Children’s National Organization

The creation of Healing the Children began with one child. In 1974, an American couple lost their newly adopted Korean daughter to an illness that could have been treated with inexpensive medication had it been available in her native country. From this tragedy a vision to help children who lacked access to specialized medical care was born. A few years later, this same couple heard of another child from Guatemala who would soon die without a surgical procedure that was not offered there. They arranged to bring the child to the United States to receive life-saving surgery. From this experience Healing the Children was born – the national organization was launched in 1979.

Northern California Chapter

Today, there are 16 HTC chapters spread across the United States. Healing the Children Northern California (HTC NorCal) is among the newest chapters and was formed in 2015. Dr. Evan Ransom, a facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon in private practice in San Francisco, is a long-time volunteer on Healing the Children missions around the globe. After relocating to northern California with his family, he began recruiting local staff for surgical mission work. The Northern California chapter is focused on bringing together teams of volunteers from California, Nevada, Oregon, and beyond to provide free care to babies and children abroad.

Currently, the Northern California chapter is focused on a cleft lip, cleft palate, and microtia mission to Ica, Peru. We are always looking for dedicated nurses, surgical techs, PACU staff, pediatricians, anesthesiologists, speech and language pathologists, and administrative support staff!

Volunteer Organization

Healing the Children Northern California is a 100% volunteer organization. We are a tax exempt federal statute 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. There are no paid staff and all services provided are made possible through the generous donations of time, money, and skills by our volunteers and local community. This includes our medical teams who donate their vacation time and often pay for their own expenses in order to travel with HTC NorCal and provide free care to children. For everyone who has a desire to help children, regardless of profession, there are ways you can help! The three principal ways of getting involved are as a medical volunteer, a community volunteer, or by making donations (financial or medical supplies).

Our Board of Advisors

Evan R. Ransom, MD – Dr. Ransom is our chapter founder. He is a board certified facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon in private practice in San Francisco and Marin County, California. In addition, he is the co-team leader for the HTC mission to Ica, Peru.

Joseph J. Rousso, MD – Dr. Rousso is a board certified facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon, and an Assistant Professor at the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary in New York City, NY. He is co-team leader of the HTC Ica mission.

Blair L. Sadler, JD – Blair Sadler is the former President and CEO of Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego, California. He is an internationally renowned expert on healthcare design, health policy, and medical ethics.

Jessica Richman, BSN, RN – Jessica Richman is a Bay Area native. She is the nursing director and volunteer coordinator for HTC NorCal. She is a registered nurse with extensive experience in the operating room, with particular interest in plastic surgery and ENT.

Carolyn Wendler, MBA – Carolyn Wendler spent her career as a financial services executive with international money center banks in both New York and San Francisco. She is working with HTC NorCal to help build the organization’s presence and develop funding sources, and joins our missions to facilitate smooth operations.

Industry Partners

We are very grateful to have industry partners. These companies and charitable organizations provide medical equipment and supplies. This group includes McKesson (surgical instruments and supplies), Americares (OR supplies), and Ethicon J&J (sutures). If you or your employer are interested in contributing supplies for an upcoming mission, please contact us!