Creating Smiles, Improving Lives
Medical Mission Trips
Each year, Austin Smiles completes three medical mission trips in partner countries in Latin America, offering surgical and postsurgical care to children born with cleft lip and/or palate who would otherwise go without treatment. Austin Smiles offers a continuum of care to children born with this condition on annual trips to El Salvador, Guatemala, and Mexico, often treating the same children into adulthood.
Our Upcoming Mission Trips
With a team of 30+ volunteers, we will evaluate upwards of 80 patients, and perform surgeries on about 50 patients. We are excited to return to our partner hospitals and serve children who are in desperate need of care.
Guatemala City, Guatemala 2023
November 11th – 19th, 2023 at El Centro Moore
San Salvador, El Salvador 2024
March 2nd– March 9th at Hospital Militar Central
Learn more about how you can help fund a medical mission trip below. Or sign up to be added to our medical mission volunteer email list and be notified when we send out trip applications.
Austin Smiles works to continuously update our resources based on current recommendations and cleft lip and/or palate research. These resources are intended for our volunteers, board members, partners, and any person who is interested in our work and Cleft Lip and Palate work internationally.
Veracruz 2023 Report
Austin Smiles was able to serve 50 patients with surgical services. Our team was able to perform 77 procedures in a total of 66 surgical hours with no in surgery complication. Our total in-kind value was of $320,000!
Translation Cheat Sheet
Austin Smiles assures that all trips are equipt with sufficient bilingual memebers as well as works with local universities and organizations to find bilingual volunteers at the host site. This resource provides some Cleft Lip and Palate common phrases in English and Spanish.
Volunteer Informational Video
In order to prepare for the medical mission, volunteers are prepped with sufficient knowledge on what is Cleft Lip and Palate as well as what to expect from the mission. We have created an informational video that is presented to all volunteers during our medical mission volunteer orientation.
Our Recent Mission Highlights
80+ Lives Changed in San Salvador!
Austin Smiles 2023 medical mission trip to San Salvador was a huge success!
Our team of 35 Medical & Non-Medical volunteers came together for a week of life-changing surgeries and services for children and adults born with cleft lip and/or palate. Our team was comprised of talented plastic surgeons, an ENT, anesthesiologists, CRNAs, dentists, an SLP, nurses, CST’s and other non-medical volunteers who helped change the lives of 80+ children.
A huge THANK YOU to our partners, sponsors, and donors who help make these services possible! Specifically, the Hospital Militar, Joni’s House, ISRI and the Rotary Club Cuscutlan. Our medical work would not be possible without our volunteers and supporters. All of Austin Smiles’s services are provided free of charge to our patients.
Our International Impact
Many Latin American countries have limited access to adequate medical resources and their residents lack sufficient income to afford necessary medical treatment. Austin Smiles has supported these communities for over 35 years, helping to create smiles and improve lives. We work internationally with underserved low-income children and families, offering hope and new opportunities for a better more inclusive life. We provide our patients with access to primary surgeries at a young age, as well as orthodontic/dental care, speech therapy, and ENT services. Austin Smiles has worked to improve the lives of over 5,000 patients, collaborating with our medical partners abroad to provide an excellent continuum of cleft care since 1987.
Our life-changing services not only improve the quality of life of the child but the lives of the entire family. Comprehensive cleft care provides patients and their family, with an opportunity to live more productive, inclusive, fulfilling lives, free from isolation, stigma and mental health issues that often present if left untreated. Austin Smiles works closely with local doctors and nurses in the areas we visit, making follow-up trips, and collaborating with medical personnel abroad to provide the best comprehensive cleft care and treatment. Often treating the same patients into adulthood.
About our International Cleft Team
Austin Smiles works with some of the best local medical professionals who provide in-kind pro-bono professional services to children in need. All services, both local and abroad, are provided at no cost to families. Each medical trip our medical team generally consists of up to 30-40 licensed medical professionals. These include board-certified plastic surgeons, anesthesiologists, CRNA’s, speech language pathologists, otolaryngologists, surgical nurses, and surgical technologists. Additionally, we bring non-medical volunteers who provide translation, administrative and technical support.
The Difference a Week Makes
In a typical one-week mission, Austin Smiles will change the lives of 70+children and their families – offering dental, speech and surgical care. To date, we have completed thousands of transformational surgeries on over 5,000 children in Latin America who would otherwise go without treatment. It is incredibly powerful to see a child be reunited with their parents after surgery. Moreover, it is extremely gratifying to see past clients on subsequent visits as happy, healthy and confident young adults whom we first met as infants.
Become a Medical Volunteer
Learn more about Austin Smiles Local and International Programming
Make a Difference
Every day hundreds of children are born with a cleft. With your help we can ensure these children have access to safe, quality and life-changing care