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Balraj Juttla talks to Chair of the FACE TO FACE Committee about the work of the programme internationally, domestically, and for injured veterans


speaking to Charlie Finn MD, about his role within the American Academy of Facial Plastic Surgeons humanitarian programme: FACE TO FACE. Charlie Finn is double board certified by

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the American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and the American Board of Otolaryngology and Head and Neck Surgery. From his practice in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, he specialises in a mixture of cosmetic and reconstructive procedures, such as rhinoplasty, facelifts, and reconstructive surgery for skin cancer patients. While he could be content with what he has achieved and continue to keep himself busy with his practice and the various speaking events he takes on each year, Charlie, like many others in his field, prefers to give back. For over a decade he has been involved

with the FACE TO FACE programme, which delivers free surgical care to those in need. The programme is currently split into three separate areas: FACE TO FACE International, the National Domestic Violence Project, and FACES OF HONOR. Each project is aimed at



humanitarian work of practitioners in the aesthetic field, this month I had the pleasure of

a completely different set of patients who share nothing in common except the need for the surgical skills of Charlie and the many other volunteers like him.

FACE TO FACE International The international arm of the programme focuses on bringing surgical aid to children with facial deformities caused at birth or by trauma. The programme helps to organise and coordinate teams of physicians, nurses, and anaesthesiologists to undertake week long trips to countries struggling to provide care for those in need. Once they arrive at their destination, the team have the ability to treat a range of issues, including burn scars, facial trauma, cleft lip, and microtia. However, Charlie is keen to point out that

they do not simply spend a week performing surgeries and then pack up and leave, but are in fact more interested in achieving long-term goals. 'Our teams are not interested in

parachute missions, in which they come in and do a weeks worth of surgery and then never return. They like to build relationships and with a lot of the missions we've done the teams have gone back year-after-year and built relationships with local clinicians. They’ve also been able see patients again so this gives some degree of continuity of care,' said Charlie.

January/February 2015 | Building these relationships with local

clinicians is achieved through close- working and education. The volunteer teams will work side-by-side with their local counterparts in the operating room, teaching modern surgical techniques and then provide educational lectures to ensure they have the ability to perform these procedures when the volunteers return home and to continue to care for the treated patients in the future. Since FACE TO FACE became an organised part of the Academy in 1992, it is estimated that they have exchanged surgical knowledge, case analysis, and experience with more than 2500 surgeons worldwide. It is clear this number will continue to grow as Charlie tells me the programme already has future trips planned to Moldova, India, Cambodia, Vietnam, Guatemala, Colombia, China, and Peru. It is the job of the trip leader to begin

coordinating the efforts to turn a noble idea into a reality. Each team leader will have a local contact who will help them on their scouting trip to assess the need for surgical aid and the current expertise in the area. From there they can begin planning a trip and sending the relevant people with the required skills. 'We usually get more volunteers than available spaces,' said Charlie. 'The trips

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