Operation Smile is celebrating National Smile Day, May 31, by highlighting some of their amazing volunteers whose unwavering dedication to providing children with the lifesaving gift of a new smile has made the world a better place. One of these volunteers is West Hollywood resident Dr. Robert Beinrauh.
Beinrauh is a plastic and reconstructive surgeon at Kaiser Permanente who has been volunteering as a cleft surgeon with Operation Smile since 2010 and has since completed over 20 missions.
Beinrauh initially chose plastic surgery as his specialty with the idea of helping others in need as “it is the most underrepresented specialty globally due to the cost of training these types of surgeons,” he said. Beinrauh was first introduced to Operation Smile during an international fellowship and was immediately inspired by its mission. Since his fellowship, Beinrauh has completed missions in Asia, Africa and South America.
Beinrauh is acutely aware of the importance that a smile can have on the health and dignity of patients with cleft conditions.
“The health benefits are great,” he said. “Children and adults need functioning palates for proper speech. Truly one of the most important things that human beings need is an ability to communicate. Giving people this ability opens their life to innumerable opportunities.”
Through his work with Operation Smile, Beinrauh has provided countless patients with new smiles thereby helping them to breathe better, eat, speak and live a better quality of life in greater confidence.
“I love this work because I feel like a true healer,” he said. “Having the ability to alter people’s lives for better and getting pure joy and happiness back to you from them and their families is something that is indescribable. Volunteering with Operation Smile allows me to really affect people in a positive way – when they may never have the opportunity to have surgery or let alone see a doctor ever in their lives.”
Operation Smile revolutionized cleft surgery globally in 1982. With nearly four decades of experience as one of the largest surgical volunteer-based nonprofits, Operation Smile staff, its private-public partnerships and thousands of volunteers have improved the health and dignity of patients with cleft conditions.
While one cleft surgery can bring immediate transformation to a child’s life in as little as 45 minutes, Operation Smile is committed to providing patients with health that lasts – being there to offer patients additional surgeries, dentistry, psychological services, speech therapy and other essential cleft treatments.
For information, visit operationsmile.org.
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