Our History

“Austin Smiles’ guiding principle has always been to offer services where needed regardless of any reward, and to treat all patients to the best of our capability regardless of ability to pay.” – Dr. Jim Cullington, Founding Member
In 1985 and 1986, three of the first plastic surgeons in Austin, Texas – Dr. Patrick Beckham, Dr. Jim Cullington, and Dr. Jim Fox – came together, sharing their experiences doing medical mission work around the world. They wanted to advance their passion for volunteerism in the local Austin community. After a local measure was passed providing that all Austin doctors receive compensation for their “on-call” time, the three doctors felt inspired to start their philanthropic initiative with this unexpected, “extra” funding. Working with fellow doctors in the Austin Society of Plastic Surgeons and pooling these funds, the idea to provide free cleft lip/palate surgery came together in 1987. Austin Smiles – The Austin Plastic Surgery Foundation officially received its 501(c)3 nonprofit certification.
The founding members of Austin Smiles include Dr. Jim Cullington, Dr. Patrick Beckham, Dr. Jim Fox, Dr. William Barnes, Jr., Dr. Robert Clement, Dr. William Davis, Dr. Robert Ersek, Dr. William Gorman, Dr. Victor LiPalaez, Dr. Francis Morris, Dr. N.D. Moscoe, Dr. Richard Parker, Dr. David Turner, and Dr. Alfred Wilder. Austin Smiles started out doing local surgeries and supporting Austin’s Central Texas Cleft Lip and Palate Team. In 1988 the organization began going on mission trips to repair cleft lip/palate in Mexico. Since our inception, we have served over 5,000 patients and conducted over 100 medical trips to many countries including Brazil, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Micronesia, Nicaragua, and the Philippines. Austin Smiles is proud to have served under this principle for over 30 years.

Austin Smiles is excited to receive invitations from countries all over the world. Our predominant partnerships are in El Salvador, Guatemala, & Mexico.
Here are some communities we’ve served since 1987.

Cool Timeline

Veracruz, Mexico

[embed]https://youtu.be/i12yiXwaU5o[/embed] Veracruz 2023 - Over $320,000 of free surgical care provided! That's a wrap on Austin Smiles's 13th Medical Mission trip to Veracruz; here are some highlights of our trip! Our team is now home safe after a week of life-changing care - where 50+ patients received care. Until next…
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Guatemala City, Guatemala
Guatemala City, Guatemala

Another incredible mission in Guatemala City at Centro Moore with the Austin Smiles - The Austin Plastic Surgery Foundation Family 💙 39 surgical patients, 30+ dental patients and 25+ speech therapy sessions - for a total of over $390,000 of in-kind medical services provided.Grateful for the smiles we've shared and…
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Austin Smiles - Our History - photo collage
Austin Smiles - Our History - Our Team photo

Our Board

Learn about Austin Smiles Leadership

Austin Smiles - Our History - Our Local Services photo

Our Local Services

Austin Smiles local impact for children and families in Central Texas

Austin Smiles - Our History - Our Medical Mission Trips photo

Our Medical Mission Trips

Austin Smiles takes 2-3 medical mission trips annually