Education & Training

Operation Smile’s one-week surgical programs have become a hallmark of the organization. Training and mentoring have naturally occurred between medical volunteers who travel to provide cleft care in underserved areas of the world. Looking ahead, Operation Smile will turn these exchanges into specialized cleft training experiences to ensure an even greater impact.

Training programs are essential to address the systemic challenges that have created a backlog of patients waiting to receive safe, timely, and affordable surgical care. A new decade of love & leadership launches an expanded set of cleft training programs across surgery and other specialties. Training programs are designed to enhance the skills of medical providers, and to create new providers in areas with limited human resources for health.

Operation Smile’s volunteer base of over 6,000 medical volunteers from around the world will be further engaged in education, research, and university partnerships. Our medical volunteers are our greatest legacy and represent our capacity to provide education across ten specialties, including surgery, anesthesia, nursing, dental care, and more.

Amongst the many initiatives being developed, Operation Smile is proud to have launched:


Operation Smile Academy

In partnership with Orbis, we have launched the OPERATION SMILE ACADEMY to house virtual education and training resources for all cleft specialty areas from providers all around the world. This platform unlocks continuous education opportunities and increases early mentorship and long-term engagement of volunteers, residents, and healthcare workers.

Women in Medicine

Currently, 65% of Operation Smile’s volunteer workforce is female, consisting of health care professionals who influence health systems in 35 countries on 6 continents. We will continue to use this influence to elevate women and strengthen health systems. Our WOMEN IN MEDICINE initiative will:

  1. Empower women as leaders to accelerate health system growth in 35 program countries
  2. Increase the number of women entering under-represented fields of medicine
  3. Increase opportunities for career development and leadership at the global level