Healing Children To Build International Trust and Camaraderie

3 Minute Read
Humanitarian surgical outreach is a nearly four-decade-long passion for Virginia Beach-based plastic surgeon and World Pediatric Project volunteer Dr. Jonathan Jacobs.
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Dr. Jon Jacobs, Plastic Surgeon and WPP volunteer since 2001, with OR Nurse Patty Weeks and long time patient Eymi in Honduras in 2016. Eymi first received fleft ip surgery with Dr. Jacobs's WPP team in 2009 and returns annually for checkups and monitoring.
He began his international service long before the establishment of World Pediatric Project, first volunteering with organizations such as Project Hope and a group that would later become Operation Smile. Working in the Philippines, China, Ecuador, Israel, and El Salvador, Dr. Jacobs began his affiliation with World Pediatric Project nearly twenty years ago. He's traveled to Honduras every year since but one, providing hundreds of children various forms of plastic and reconstructive surgery otherwise unavailable to them.

Dr. Jacobs credits World Pediatric Project's distinctive approach as a reason for his long involvement. "WPP provides my team and me an organized outlet so we can work efficiently during our week-long surgery missions. What's especially wonderful about WPP is their patient follow-up and tracking mechanisms to assure children do not fall through the cracks year to year. This consistency of care means the many conditions requiring stage of surgical revision over multiple years can be carried out to completion, very similar to our standards for patients in the United States."
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Jenifer visiting Dr. Jacobs during the 2007 Honduras Plastic Surgery Team visit.
One particular WPP patient named Jenifer stands out as an example of the life-changing difference plastic and reconstructive surgery accomplishes for children. Jenifer was born with a condition called Treacher Collins syndrome and needed surgery on her ears, eyes, and jaw. Dr. Jacobs and the WPP team first met Jenifer at age eight, and over a period of 6 years, she received four surgeries to reconstruct the facial features more affected by her conditions. Because of her consistent follow-up over the years and her great family, Dr. Jacobs has watched her develop into a beautiful young woman with a bright future.

Plastic and reconstructive surgery by its nature allows for relatively short and simple procedures to profoundly change children's lives. Dr. Jacobs explains, "There is nothing more dramatic than for a family to see the visual improvement of their child's cleft lip repaired or hear their child speak after successful cleft palate surgery. These are procedures most often accomplished within an hour's time with a very meager number of instruments and supplies. It's the true big bang for the buck."
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For most of his 20 years traveling to Honduras, Dr. Jacobs (right) partners with fellow plastic surgeons Dr. Sharline Aboutanos (center) and Dr. Isaac Wornom (left) to care for nearly 100 children each year.
Dr. Jacobs understands the importance of not only his time and expertise but also all those who financially invest in World PediatricProject. "Supporters of WPP should know their contributions result in direct patient care through efficient distribution of materials and services. Their support directly helps children with the same quality standard of care as for children in our country."

"It's very clear there is no finer way to build international trust and camaraderie than by caring for the children of underserved populations. We take this responsibility seriously and act in the most appropriate fashion to make sure that the families of the children who we care for know exactly how much we appreciate the opportunity to help."
While challenging, it's so rewarding to use my expertise simply for the betterment of the underserved.

Dr. Jonathan Jacobs

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