Extending Our Reach to Kids Around the Globe

October 15, 2015

Children throughout India are smiling bigger and brighter thanks to the global health focus of Arun Gosain, MD. Since 2010, Dr. Gosain, Division Head of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, has brought his expertise and technique to impoverished areas of India, providing surgical care to children born with cleft lips and palates.

Though these conditions are among the world’s most common birth anomalies, lack of resources and access to proper care force many to live without treatment throughout their lifetimes, often with significant medical and social consequences.

Dedicated to providing life-changing outcomes to all children, Dr. Gosain, members of Lurie Children’s Department of Anesthesiology and residents of Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine travel each year to hospitals in India through trips sponsored by organizations such as Operation Smile.

The team works side-by-side with local surgeons and colleagues from other American teaching hospitals to complete 50 to 60 cases during their week-long trips. Visits are not only focused on surgical care for patients but also professional development for the local surgeons. The collaborative environment allows for a direct exchange of technique, skills and labor, ensuring the team impacts future healthcare delivery in the region.

Overseas travels also serve as a valuable learning opportunity for residents as they are exposed to different cultures and learn how to deliver quality care under a range of circumstances.

“As surgeons in the United States, we can ensure maximum impact when we have the ability to focus on two areas: training local surgeons in developing countries so that the standard of care is improved, and inspiring young physicians to take an interest in global healthcare,” Dr. Gosain says.

While procedures are conducted in a different setting, the immense gratitude from patient families remains the same no matter the location.

“There may be language barriers that exist between us and the parents of our patients, but the expressions on their faces when they see their children for the first time after surgery says it all,” he adds.

This article originally appeared in the Fall 2015 issue of Heroes magazine.