Creating Smiles, Improving Lives

Interning with AS – Sustainability

Hi everyone!

My name is Chloe Craig and I’m a junior at the University of Arizona studying Public Health and Biochemistry. This semester, I am looking forward to declaring my emphasis in Global Health, and I’m positive that my time with Austin Smiles will provide me with a newfound view regarding how much of an impact global health can have on local communities. This summer as a Global Public Health intern, I’ve been able to immerse myself in many different aspects of non-profit work, seeing the behind-the-scenes care that Austin Smiles provides to local families through programming, drives, and planning upcoming Medical Mission Trips.

I was immediately drawn to this organization because of their commitment to providing sustainable care on their Medical Mission Trips. Sustainability is so important when it comes to providing global health because being able to continue to visit the same location over many years allows patients to receive constant care from physicians. Specifically for children with cleft lip or cleft palate, it can be common for them to receive up to 20 surgeries in their lifetime. As a result, Austin Smiles ensures that their clinic choices allow for strong partnerships to develop over many years of return trips.

One of my favorite things about interning at Austin Smiles is being able to learn from Ellise and Renee, the only full-time employees at Austin Smiles. During a conversation with Renee, the Executive Director at Austin Smiles, I was excited to learn about how Austin Smiles expands clinic locations and their process for determining new cities and countries to visit. This year Austin Smiles is visiting Guatemala and El Salvador and is looking into more locations including Peru, the Dominican Republic, Brazil, and Ecuador. After inquiring about how Austin Smiles seeks out new clinic locations, I was intrigued to hear how much of it relies on networking and forming connections with local contacts. Emphasizing to new locations how Austin Smiles is dedicated to providing a continuum of care to local patients allows them to foster long-lasting relationships from the initial contact.

I’m so grateful for my time interning with Austin Smiles and the opportunity to better understand how a global health non-profit runs and connects with local families. Learning from Ellise and Renee about Medical Mission Trip planning and hearing about their emphasis on providing sustainable care has been an incredible experience that will continue to serve me throughout future global health endeavors.

Chloe Craig
Global Public Health Intern
Summer 2021


1 in 700 children are born with a cleft lip or palate

$250 covers the cost of one life-changing surgery

150 volunteers annually will change a child’s life forever

Austin Smiles - local services Camp Amigo photo

Medical Mission Trips

Austin Smiles goes on 2-3 medical mission trips annually

Austin Smiles - local services spring picnic photo

Our Local Services

Our local program support for children born with Cleft Lip and Palate in Texas

Austin Smiles - local services sponsor locally photo

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