Volunteer Spotlight: Honoring The Golden Girls of ReSurge

Volunteer Spotlight: Honoring The Golden Girls of ReSurge

USA Headquarters
July 27, 2021

It’s a sunny day at the Canyon Inn, a classic family diner decked in1970s sports memorabilia in Redwood City, California. A group of eight women, most of them in their 80s and 90s, gather around an outdoor table with a red and white checkered tablecloth, laughing and swapping stories from the operating room. These women are none other than the Golden Girls—a group of ReSurge International volunteers who’ve known each other ​​since the late 1950’s. The name is fitting, most likely inspired by the 1980s TV sitcom of the same title, featuring a group of strong, opinionated, and colorful women. Although no one remembers the details of the naming exactly.

For the past 50 years, these bright women have been loyal volunteers for ReSurge International. They are a tight knit group of nurses and anesthesiologists who worked together for many years in the operating rooms at Sequoia Hospital. They have a certain bond about them that you can only get from years of friendship and collaboration on the frontlines of healthcare work.

The Golden Girls have deep roots with ReSurge International. They worked with our founder Dr. Don Laub, and through him became involved with our humanitarian trips when we were called Interplast. Volunteer teams of medical professionals would make regular trips to Mexico and Honduras, providing care for local patients who lacked the means to pay for reconstructive surgery.

For Golden Girl Janet Lull, those early volunteer trips impacted her life in an incredible way.

“Being a volunteer for ReSurge changed my life. I was blessed to join medical trips to three different countries in Central America. Seeing the families, full of hope and anticipation for their loved ones to finally get surgical care, brought the reality of what we were doing home. To know that many of these families walk miles and miles to get to a hospital is humbling. I’ll never forget it.”

There are many ways to volunteer, and the Golden Girls soon found a creative way to use their expertise to solve a need and drive impact. For facial operations like cleft lip and cleft palate surgery, there are about six surgical items needed to create a sterile environment. It is very expensive to buy these items pre-packaged, and they almost always come with an excess of materials. So the Golden Girls would collect the correct tools for facial surgeries, and put them into small bundles in an autoclave wrapper. These custom face-packs were then ready for sterilization and convenient for travel. “Having these face-packs meant that our surgical teams would have everything they needed in one place, “said Dora Rusin-Gomez, Director of Volunteer Services & Medical Supplies. “The custom packs worked perfectly for us because they save us a lot of time, effort and funds,”

Throughout the years, the Golden Girls would meet regularly, making at least 100 face-packs at a time. “What seems like a simple item, these face-packs, is actually extremely important for a surgical procedure and it needs to be correctly prepared.” Janet says. “I love knowing that the face-pack I’ve helped to assemble will end up being used to correct a congenital condition in a far away country.”

This particular day at the Canyon Inn is a special one for the Golden Girls. It’s the first time they’ve seen each other since the Covid 19 pandemic, and the excitement, love, and nostalgia is palpable. It is also a special day because it is one of the last times the Golden Girls will be meeting as a working group. Now that everyone is vaccinated, they will still meet weekly for lunch, but they are finally retiring from their volunteer work after almost 50 incredible years of service.

Janet left us with some wise words about the power of volunteer work. “To be a volunteer is a gift that gives one a sense of purpose and satisfaction. It’s not always easy to find the right volunteer match, but there is much need in the world. Sometimes what might seem simple can actually make a huge impact.”

From the bottom of our hearts at ReSurge International, we want to thank and honor all of the incredible women who make up the Golden Girls volunteer group. Their years of service, laughter, and love have made such a difference in our work, and will live on well into the future.

Thank you:

Janet Lull
Ruthie Gallagher
Joan Wheelwright
Marty Bernard
Donna McKinney
Katie Holmes
Sandy Gunnarson
Jean Kucic
Irene Afendakis
Beth Charvonia

There are many ways to support us in our mission. Learn more about supporting our programs here, or reach out to dora@resurge.org about volunteer opportunities.

 

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Empowered women empower women. Since we launched the Pioneering Women in Reconstructive Surgery (PWRS) program, a joint initiative between ReSurge and SkinCeuticals to support the first generation of local women reconstructive surgeons in low-income nations, we’ve been astonished at just how much this program has resonated with women across industries, backgrounds, and nationalities.

One such example is the story of Casselith Plastic Surgery, an entirely women-owned and run practice that was so inspired by the PWRS program that they donated all the proceeds of their Antioxidant sales during the month of April to ReSurge.

We caught up with Alessandra Ricciuti, the Director of MedSpa at Casselith and the woman who spearheaded this campaign to find out more.

 


 

Alessandra, thank you so much for your generous donation on behalf of Cassileth Plastic Surgery and for taking the time to speak with us! Tell me, how did you first hear about ReSurge International and the PWRS program?

I first heard about ReSurge through a SkinCeuticals email campaign launched at the end of March. Since I work for Los Angeles’s only all-female plastic surgery practice, Cassileth Plastic Surgery, I was immediately drawn to the PWRS program. I loved the idea of female surgeons empowering other women and raising awareness for the advancement and education of female surgeons worldwide.

Cassileth is LA’s only all-female plastic surgery practice

So you went from just learning about ReSurge in March, to successfully launching a fundraising campaign in April? That’s a really short amount of time! The program and mission must have really resonated with you.

It did. As a strong female leader and businesswoman, I firmly believe in philanthropy and giving back, so I am always looking for organizations to partner with and support. Giving back is the cornerstone of any successful business; it’s important to be involved in your community and to support organizations that support your industry. PWRS is all these things, an amazing program helping women in low-income countries advance in medicine and saving and changing lives.

For many of our PWRS mentees, they will be the first female reconstructive surgeons in their home countries. What has your experience been like as a woman in a male-dominated field?

I have enjoyed working for both male and female plastic surgeons in my career, and I am truly honored and grateful to work at Cassileth Plastic Surgery. Day in and day out, I am amazed at the incredible work that our team does to change and save the lives of so many women.

Women know women, and they know a women’s body better than a man, and can empathize and understand all the emotions and intricacies involved in reconstructive and aesthetic plastic surgery. For this reason, female surgeons can provide a level of patient care that comes from the heart, a bond of women helping women, that male surgeons simply cannot. That’s what makes our team of surgeons so special and unique in a predominantly male-dominated industry.

We also see patient care improving with more women leaders in global health and international development. Addressing gender inequity and putting women in positions of leadership is beneficial to everyone in the community.

Our hope with the PWRS program is to bridge the gap of gender inequality not only in surgery, but in healthcare overall. Lack of gender balance in health leadership means that the global health sector loses female talent, perspectives, and knowledge.

Yes! That resonates a lot with me and is part of the reason I was so motivated to launch this fundraiser and support a program like PWRS.

Current Cohort of ReSurge PWRS Mentees

Tell me more about the fundraiser. How did you get it started?

As a SkinCeuticals flagship and a female-led business, I felt that I could create a campaign that would go hand-in-hand with National Vitamin C Day, simultaneously raising awareness about the incredible line-up of award-winning Antioxidants and PWRS.

With the blessing from Dr. Cassileth, who graciously agreed to donate the proceeds of all of our Antioxidant sales during April to PWRS, I set about educating our staff about PWRS, and the impact we could have. As an all-female team, our staff loved the campaign, and it created another fantastic benefit to share with our patrons and patients to purchase a SkinCeuticals Antioxidant!

And how much did you raise by the end of the month?

We were able to raise $8,000.

That’s amazing! How did that feel?

I had chills when I submitted our donation! It was a proud moment to witness our collective efforts come full circle and to know what an impact in the lives of so many our contribution would make. Giving back is truly a gift in itself.

That is truly inspirational, Alessandra. A huge thank you from all of us at ReSurge to the entire team at Cassileth! Before you go, is there anything you’d like to tell our PWRS mentees, or any woman who is considering a career in a male-dominated field?

You cannot go wrong if you follow your passion in life. As women, we are powerful and have strengths that men don’t innately have. Embrace who you are and the superpower gift you have to help change and save lives one surgery at a time!


Only 7 out of 100 surgeons are women. You have the power to close the gap by supporting the next generation of female surgeons. These women provide life-changing reconstructive surgical care to those in need in developing countries. Donate today.

 

 

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Sign up for our newsletter and keep up to date on the latest happenings at Resurge International. Join our Community!
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Reconnecting with Lilliam After More Than 10 Years

The year was 1987, and Marlon and Violeta in Nicaragua were like any other parents of a new baby gir …

Making Dreams Possible | Tonmoy

Tonmoy was living the life of a typical 6-year-old boy—climbing trees and running around. One day, w …

Back to School Despite His Disability | Alam

Alam lives in an apartment building in Dhaka, one of the most densely populated cities in the world. …

Regaining the Ability to Walk | Mohammed Hussein

Mohammed Hussein was just 7 years old when the accident occurred that left him on crutches. He was p …

12 Years After Cleft Lip Surgery

Ganesh is 14 years old. Despite living in a small rural village of Nepal, he dreams of becoming a do …

The Road to Hope | Priyanka

Vijay arises early, before the sun is up, and gently wakes his daughter Priyanka. She looks into his …

A Glimpse into Man Kumari’s life

Outside Bharatapur, a southern crossroads town where Nepal’s east and west meet on the nation’s main …

A bright Future | Kalus

Kalus is an 8-year-old boy from a small village between Pokhara and Kathmandu in Nepal, who could no …

Creatively Treating Acute Burns | Astha

Astha, a baby girl in Nepal, fell from her mother’s lap into a fire during a traditional ceremony wh …

Freeing Sirisu’s Hand

Sirisu is a charming 4-year-old from Nepal who accidentally scalded his arm while making hot food fo …

Restoring future dreams | Rinchin

Rinchin, 13, wants to be a movie star. He is one of the patients we met recently when students from …

Without Surgery, School Was Not Within His Reach |…

Four-year-old Nguyen was born with three of his fingers fused on each hand, a congenital birth defec …

Helping Mother and Child | Hoa & Hoai

Hoa, a young mother, knew intimately the stigma of a cleft lip as she had been born with one herself …

A Family Renewed | Thi

The ReSurge team fell in love with 3-month-old Thi Ngol Quyen during a trip to Vietnam in April 2013 …

A Contracture Released, A Life Renewed | Quynh

Like more than 2 billion people worldwide, Quynh’s family in Vietnam does their cooking over open fi …

Mom and My | A Mother’s Hope

Sixteen-month-old My and her mother, Hat, live in Quy Nhon, on Vietnam’s eastern coast. When Hat was …

A Mother’s Dedication | Y Dim

Y Dim, now 2 years old, was born in the rural mountains of Vietnam with a cleft lip. After she was b …

A Smile 58 Years in the Making | Tam

On a surgical team trip to Quy Nhon, Vietnam, we met Tam, a man who has been waiting 58 years to hav …

Removing Stigma | Huynh

Five-year-old Huynh was born in a small village in Vietnam with a condition known as congenital hair …

The Character and Spirit of Hasan

Hasan is a daughter, a sister, a mother and at the moment, our patient. Hasan’s smile is a clear win …

An Emotional Return to India | Nisha

I’ve been looking forward to returning to Dehradun because I would finally get the opportunity to re …

The Incredible Impact | Punkaj

In early 2013, ReSurge sent a team trip to Dehradun, India, where we have a Surgical Outreach Progra …

Magali: Paying it forward

Magali’s original accident took place when she was two years old. Her mother was preparing caramelo …

Healing Hands: Joseph and Adriana

Joseph is a 7-year-old boy from El Alto, Bolivia. He was born with syndactyly, a condition in which …

Future Basketball Player | Jonathan

When you meet Jonathan, you quickly realize he has more cares than a typical 6-year-old should. He h …

Dara: The Right Start to Life

During a clinic in Nicaragua last March, we met 2-month-old Dara. Dara, like so many other children, …

Our First Patient | Antonio

In the 1960s, Antonio, a 13-year-old boy from Mexicali, Mexico, was being raised by his grandmother, …

The Real Impact of Surgery | Luis Fernando

On a trip to Ecuador in 2012, we met five-year-old Luis Fernando. Two years prior, he had been terri …

Andrea: From Patient to Nurse

Jacqueline’s 28-year-old daughter, Andrea, is her pride and joy. When Andrea was born with a bilater …

Making Connections for His Care | Sorie

As the director of international services at ReSurge International, Amy Laden is often contacted by …

Helping Oumar Be Mali’s First Reconstructive Plast…

In Mali, there is only one physician for every 12,800 people—and no reconstructive plastic surgeons. …

Bringing Hope to Mali | Awa

Awa, an 11-year-old girl, was shaking down fruit from a tree with a metal pole when her pole hit a l …

Seeking Advice on a Hyena Bite

When Dr. Goran Jovic was presented the case of a teenager attacked by a hyena, he turned to ReSurge …

A Mother’s Hope For Her Son

Mateo was one of nearly 17,000 people who receive a severe burn every year in Zambia, a country with …

Chrispine and Mwate: Crossing the Border for Hope

Determined to do the best they could for their babies, mothers Bella and Mwanga banded together for …

Jacob’s Arms are Freed

Five-year-old Jacob is bright, outgoing and likes to play football. But life for Jacob hasn’t been c …

Meet Jonas from Tanzania

Jonas is one brave little 5 year old. He lives with his family under a giant baobob tree on the plai …

A mother’s fierce hope | Basanti

ReSurge’s patients and their families are brave. They are strong. They are fighters. Some take a bus …

Hands & Father’s Hope

When Favour was 3 years old, he was at home alone with his 12-year-old cousin who was looking after …

Learning and Unlearning: Our DEI Journey

Learning and Unlearning: Our DEI Journey

USA Headquarters
June 28, 2021

“The pandemic plus the national attention to matters of equity—including access to healthcare—have highlighted the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion. As an international surgical and public health organization, we need to understand and embody diversity, equity and inclusion,” —Jeff Whisenant, President and CEO.

This past year has brought many deep rooted inequities to light. As a society we are coming to a reckoning with the systems of oppression, police brutality, racism, and barriers in equity that persist both in the United States and across the globe.

At ReSurge International, our mission is simple. We want to provide the world’s most vulnerable populations with life-changing surgical care and dismantle inequities in global health. We’ve been doing this work for over 50 years, and with that comes an immense responsibility. It is our duty to constantly question the systems of power and privilege that we fit into both as an organization and as a sector as a whole. It is also our duty to ensure that we are being equitable not only in our external work, but internally as well.

There is work to be done. At ReSurge, we’re embarking on a journey to embed Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) deep into our DNA. While we are just starting on this path, we want to share our approach and our learnings, to hold ourselves accountable and inspire others in their journeys.

And who better to share an update on our work than Christa Peterson, our Development Manager and founding member of the ReSurge International DEI Committee. Read more from Christa about our DEI journey:


What does true Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) mean to an organization? And is DEI more than just having a varied employee representation of races, backgrounds, ages, abilities, and sexual orientations? These were just some of the initial questions we started to ask ourselves at ReSurge International as we started on our DEI journey.

We quickly discovered that true DEI work goes well beyond the ‘D’ of diversity, and that as an organization we wanted to learn as much as we could about DEI inwardly and outwardly. Our policies and philosophy don’t just affect us as employees, they also affect the patients we serve, our global partners, and our donors alike. But to learn more, we found that we first had to unlearn both conscious and unconscious biases.

In an already tumultuous year, the tragic murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Aubrey, and Breonna Taylor were a powerful wake up call for many of us based in the United States on just how deep injustice runs throughout our systems. These events created a new sense of urgency for us as an organization to make DEI work a top priority. We started to ask ourselves harder questions, and senior leadership jump-started the unlearning process by formalizing a strategy to talk about racism. We came together to read and digest resources as a team. Articles such as, Global Surgery Pro – Con Debate: A Pathway to Bilateral Academic Success or the Bold New Face of Colonialism, were particularly insightful. We also watched various video presentations about building a truly anti-racist organization and the history of healthcare inequities for underrepresented groups in America. In addition, an internal online forum was created so that all employees could reference and share relevant articles about the DEI space in both global health and in our own backyard.

DEI Foundations course led by Dr. Alexandria White, Director of Diversity at Reboot Accel

While we were collectively learning and unlearning, we knew that we had to further this work in action and deed. We began by first forming a DEI committee. Next we launched a DEI survey in the Summer of 2020 to get a pulse of how ReSurge employees were doing and shared those results with the executive team and then with the Board of Directors.

We were lucky to have complete buy in from leadership, but realized as a group that we needed guidance with our next steps. The ReSurge team enlisted the help of consultant and facilitator, Dr. Alexandria White, Director of Diversity at Reboot Accel, to lead a DEI Foundations course for our staff. We spoke candidly about our DEI experiences, asked questions, learned terminologies, and reviewed resources to track our DEI goals and successes.

Upon having taken this course, the DEI committee is proud to announce that we will soon be finalizing a Diversity Dashboard, formalizing our organizational DEI goals, and crafting an official DEI statement to share with our donors and external partners.

While we are proud of how far we have come, and what we have accomplished so far in this journey, we know that there isn’t a finish line to achieving DEI in an organization.There is always work to be done, and we are fully committed.


Christa, a native of Seattle, Washington, received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Washington in Business Administration with a focus in Marketing. In 2018, she obtained a continuing education certificate in Project Management, also from the University of Washington. She has extensive client services experience, is results-oriented, and works well in team environments to drive success. She has a heart for the nonprofit world with volunteer experience ranging from fundraising to mentorship. She also planned and executed personal and professional development workshops for women in the greater Seattle area from 2012-2015. Her ReSurge responsibilities include donor database maintenance and research, executing various fundraising activities, and recently she became a part of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion committee.
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Latest Stories

Patient Stories

Stories from the Field

Pride Is Not a Factor: Dr. Swain on Being a Resurg…

For over six years, Dr. Bharatendu Swain has been a ReSurge International Surgical Outreach Partner. …

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Statement

ReSurge International is an international global health organization driven to address surgical ineq …

In Good Hands: The Story of Young Bibas

“Other than the face, our hands are the most communicative part of our body when connecting to the o …

How ReSurge is Shaping the Future: A Conversation …

At ReSurge International, our reconstructive surgical care and training transforms the lives of thou …

Lawrence Cai: Meet the Laub Fellow Quantifying our…

The Donald R. Laub Fellowship program, named after our founder Don Laub, allows for a fourth-year re …

Volunteer Spotlight: Honoring The Golden Girls of …

It’s a sunny day at the Canyon Inn, a classic family diner decked in1970s sports memorabilia in Redw …

Donor Spotlight: How Women Surgeons in Los Angeles…

Empowered women empower women. Since we launched the Pioneering Women in Reconstructive Surgery (PWR …

Learning and Unlearning: Our DEI Journey

“The pandemic plus the national attention to matters of equity—including access to healthcare—have h …

Juneteenth National Independence Day Statement

On June 19, 2021 the United States will celebrate Juneteenth National Independence Day, as an offici …

Surgical Partner Profile: Matolase Mtonga

Dr. Matolase Mtonga always knew she wanted to be a surgeon. But as a medical student in Zambia she f …

Transformations: 2020 Annual Report

The year 2020 was unlike any other. We began on a high note, celebrating our 50th anniversary as the …

Standing in Solidarity with India and Nepal

Dear Friends and Colleagues, The current situation and devastation caused by the novel coronavirus i …

Hope in Nepal: A Mother and Baby’s Journey

A child born with a cleft lip in Nepal has a tough journey ahead. Difficulty breastfeeding and chron …

Volunteer Spotlight: Dharshan Sivaraj

At ReSurge International, we have the honor and privilege to work alongside many talented partners, …

Delali Attiogbe Attipoe Brings a Wealth of Experie…

In pursuit of finding a non-profit that shared her personal passion of expanding health access to th …

Making a Powerful Impact in Peru 

Dr. Percy Rossell-Perry, a practicing reconstructive surgeon at Edgardo Rebagliati Ho …

Board Spotlight: Meredith Taylor

A ReSurge Board Member since 2015, Meredith Taylor was recently named Chair of our Board of Director …

The Higgins-Shaw Nepal Microsurgery Fund 

None of our work would be possible without the steadfast support of you, our donors — together we’re …

Our Founder – Don Laub

Our Founder, Dr. Donald Laub  In 1969, a group of volunteers from the Bay Area’s Latin Ame …

Do You See What I See? 

ReSurge is proud to announce our collaboration with Ohana One International Surgical Aid,  …

Board Spotlight: Eileen Sheldon 

  Eileen Sheldon, ReSurge Board member, recently did a spectacular job chairing our T …

Volunteer Spotlight: Deb Rusy M.D

How did you hear about ReSurge and get involved? One of the University of Wisconsin pediatric neuros …

ReSurge Board Views Impact Up Close

In May, members of ReSurge’s board of directors visited our surgical outreach partner sites in Nepal …

Interview with New Laub Fellow, Chao Long

We are proud to introduce Chao Long, the newly selected Donald R. Laub Fellow. Named for our ReSurge …

Interview with Laub Fellow Dr. Anna Luan

Dr. Anna Luan recently completed the Donald R. Laub Fellowship. Named for our ReSurge founder and co …

Volunteer Spotlight: Sue Fossum

When ReSurge volunteer Sue Fossum first heard about ReSurge, she was working in the PACU at UC Davis …

Dr Hien Thi Nguyen Honored at Transformations Gala

Dr. Hien Thi Nguyen knew the rural poor of her country needed the medical services ReSurge provides. …

ReSurge, COSECSA Partner to Launch Initiative in S…

ReSurge is pleased to be launching a new initiative to increase access to safe reconstructive s …

What I Learned Firsthand on the Ground in Dehradun

By Tom Seery I spent the first days of 2020 in Dehradun, India as part of a visiting educator trip w …

Fiftieth Anniversary Flashback: The 1980’s

When Dr. Mark Singleton was asked to join a surgical mission trip in 1986, he was intrigued by the t …

Kathmandu Leadership Training

Last month, we packed our bags and headed to Kathmandu for a week of leadership training for the emp …

ReSurge and ASSH Volunteers Share Their Experience…

In May of this year, a medical team of hand surgeons and hand therapists traveled with ReSurge, in p …

Introducing Anna Luan, ReSurge’s Third Laub Fellow

We are proud to introduce Anna Luan, the newly selected Donald R. Laub Fellow. Named for our ReSurge …

Razia, Rohingya Refugee

Earlier this month, a ReSurge surgical mission trip visited Cox’s Bazaar, Bangladesh, where we treat …

Ty, Acid Burn Survivor

Ty is a thirty-four-year-old woman with a beautiful smile. We treated her on a recent visit to Phan …

Helping India’s Children Heal From Burns

Meet Sheetal. At age 12, she was burned in a fire at her home where she lives with her widowed mothe …

Donor Spotlight: A Lesson in Karma

“If you do something good for others, something good will come to you.” This is how Anthony D. expla …

Cleft Palate Repair Follow Up in Vietnam

An important part of our mission is to provide reconstructive surgical care for poor children and ad …

Delivering Long-Term Impact Through Anesthesia Tra…

A well-known expert in pediatric anesthesiology, Dr. George Gregory has volunteered his skills with …

Dr. Shankar Man Rai Bio

Dr. Shankar Man Rai, a world-renowned expert at repairing clefts and burn injuries, has provided mor …

Dr. Pramila Shakya: Pioneering Women in Reconstruc…

Dr. Shakya is a maxillofacial surgeon at the Nepal Cleft and Burn Center at Kirtipur Hospital in Kat …

Dr. Celma Issufo: Pioneering Women in Reconstructi…

Dr. Issufo is the plastic surgery service director at Mozambique’s Maputo Central Hospital. She trea …

Dr. Shilu Shrestha: Pioneering Women in Reconstruc…

Dr. Shrestha is an orthopedic hand surgeon at the Hospital and Rehabilitation center for Disabled Ch …

Dr. Faith Muchemwa: Pioneering Women in Reconstruc…

Dr. Muchemwa is a consultant plastic and reconstructive  surgeon, at Parirenyatwa Hospital at t …

Dr. Farzana Ibrahim: Pioneering Women in Reconstru…

Dr Ibrahim is a senior registrar in the plastic surgery department at Birdem General Hospital (Bangl …

Dr. Lorena EScudero: Pioneering Women in Reconstru…

Dr. Escudero is a plastic surgeon at Luis Vernaza Hospital in Guayaquil, Ecuador, the largest nonpro …

Training the Next Generation of Surgeons in Cuba

At the beginning of his career, Dr. Bill McClure was on track to become a cardiovascular surgeon–th …

Life-Changing Microsurgery in Nepal

In mid-July, ReSurge sent visiting educators Dr. Gordon Lee and Dr. Matthew Chetta to train local re …

Burn Care Education in Mozambique

In late August 2016, a visiting educator team made ReSurge’s inaugural visit to Mozambique, as part …

Improving Nursing and Specialty Care in Bhutan

ReSurge’s Visiting Educator trips to Bhutan are making an impact after just over a year working in t …

Creating Lasting Impact in Zambia

A patient story as told by Dr. Goran Jovic. At first, I did not notice anything unusual about him. I …

An Empowered Survivor | Kanchana

Kanchana is a bright young nurse in Sri Lanka. She graduated eleventh out of 30,000 nursing students …

Giving a Mother Peace of Mind

When baby Christine was born in central Zambia, her mother immediately noticed that something was wr …

Reconnecting with Lilliam After More Than 10 Years

The year was 1987, and Marlon and Violeta in Nicaragua were like any other parents of a new baby gir …

Making Dreams Possible | Tonmoy

Tonmoy was living the life of a typical 6-year-old boy—climbing trees and running around. One day, w …

Back to School Despite His Disability | Alam

Alam lives in an apartment building in Dhaka, one of the most densely populated cities in the world. …

Regaining the Ability to Walk | Mohammed Hussein

Mohammed Hussein was just 7 years old when the accident occurred that left him on crutches. He was p …

12 Years After Cleft Lip Surgery

Ganesh is 14 years old. Despite living in a small rural village of Nepal, he dreams of becoming a do …

The Road to Hope | Priyanka

Vijay arises early, before the sun is up, and gently wakes his daughter Priyanka. She looks into his …

A Glimpse into Man Kumari’s life

Outside Bharatapur, a southern crossroads town where Nepal’s east and west meet on the nation’s main …

A bright Future | Kalus

Kalus is an 8-year-old boy from a small village between Pokhara and Kathmandu in Nepal, who could no …

Creatively Treating Acute Burns | Astha

Astha, a baby girl in Nepal, fell from her mother’s lap into a fire during a traditional ceremony wh …

Freeing Sirisu’s Hand

Sirisu is a charming 4-year-old from Nepal who accidentally scalded his arm while making hot food fo …

Restoring future dreams | Rinchin

Rinchin, 13, wants to be a movie star. He is one of the patients we met recently when students from …

Without Surgery, School Was Not Within His Reach |…

Four-year-old Nguyen was born with three of his fingers fused on each hand, a congenital birth defec …

Helping Mother and Child | Hoa & Hoai

Hoa, a young mother, knew intimately the stigma of a cleft lip as she had been born with one herself …

A Family Renewed | Thi

The ReSurge team fell in love with 3-month-old Thi Ngol Quyen during a trip to Vietnam in April 2013 …

A Contracture Released, A Life Renewed | Quynh

Like more than 2 billion people worldwide, Quynh’s family in Vietnam does their cooking over open fi …

Mom and My | A Mother’s Hope

Sixteen-month-old My and her mother, Hat, live in Quy Nhon, on Vietnam’s eastern coast. When Hat was …

A Mother’s Dedication | Y Dim

Y Dim, now 2 years old, was born in the rural mountains of Vietnam with a cleft lip. After she was b …

A Smile 58 Years in the Making | Tam

On a surgical team trip to Quy Nhon, Vietnam, we met Tam, a man who has been waiting 58 years to hav …

Removing Stigma | Huynh

Five-year-old Huynh was born in a small village in Vietnam with a condition known as congenital hair …

The Character and Spirit of Hasan

Hasan is a daughter, a sister, a mother and at the moment, our patient. Hasan’s smile is a clear win …

An Emotional Return to India | Nisha

I’ve been looking forward to returning to Dehradun because I would finally get the opportunity to re …

The Incredible Impact | Punkaj

In early 2013, ReSurge sent a team trip to Dehradun, India, where we have a Surgical Outreach Progra …

Magali: Paying it forward

Magali’s original accident took place when she was two years old. Her mother was preparing caramelo …

Healing Hands: Joseph and Adriana

Joseph is a 7-year-old boy from El Alto, Bolivia. He was born with syndactyly, a condition in which …

Future Basketball Player | Jonathan

When you meet Jonathan, you quickly realize he has more cares than a typical 6-year-old should. He h …

Dara: The Right Start to Life

During a clinic in Nicaragua last March, we met 2-month-old Dara. Dara, like so many other children, …

Our First Patient | Antonio

In the 1960s, Antonio, a 13-year-old boy from Mexicali, Mexico, was being raised by his grandmother, …

The Real Impact of Surgery | Luis Fernando

On a trip to Ecuador in 2012, we met five-year-old Luis Fernando. Two years prior, he had been terri …

Andrea: From Patient to Nurse

Jacqueline’s 28-year-old daughter, Andrea, is her pride and joy. When Andrea was born with a bilater …

Making Connections for His Care | Sorie

As the director of international services at ReSurge International, Amy Laden is often contacted by …

Helping Oumar Be Mali’s First Reconstructive Plast…

In Mali, there is only one physician for every 12,800 people—and no reconstructive plastic surgeons. …

Bringing Hope to Mali | Awa

Awa, an 11-year-old girl, was shaking down fruit from a tree with a metal pole when her pole hit a l …

Seeking Advice on a Hyena Bite

When Dr. Goran Jovic was presented the case of a teenager attacked by a hyena, he turned to ReSurge …

A Mother’s Hope For Her Son

Mateo was one of nearly 17,000 people who receive a severe burn every year in Zambia, a country with …

Chrispine and Mwate: Crossing the Border for Hope

Determined to do the best they could for their babies, mothers Bella and Mwanga banded together for …

Jacob’s Arms are Freed

Five-year-old Jacob is bright, outgoing and likes to play football. But life for Jacob hasn’t been c …

Meet Jonas from Tanzania

Jonas is one brave little 5 year old. He lives with his family under a giant baobob tree on the plai …

A mother’s fierce hope | Basanti

ReSurge’s patients and their families are brave. They are strong. They are fighters. Some take a bus …

Hands & Father’s Hope

When Favour was 3 years old, he was at home alone with his 12-year-old cousin who was looking after …

Juneteenth National Independence Day Statement

Juneteenth National Independence Day Statement

USA Headquarters
June 18, 2021

On June 19, 2021 the United States will celebrate Juneteenth National Independence Day, as an official federal holiday for the first time. This is an important milestone in the US’s continual journey to reckon with its original sin of slavery. This year marks the 156 anniversary of the day when Major General Gordon Granger marched into Galveston, Texas, and informed more than 200,000 enslaved Black Americans that they were finally free — more than two and a half years after President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation. Since that day, June 19 has been recognized as Juneteenth as a celebration of the de facto end of slavery in the United States.

Juneteenth is a celebration of freedom, but it is also a reminder of how hard won freedom is, especially for those who have been oppressed and marginalized. This year has been a year of hard truths as we come to a reckoning with the systems of oppression, police brutality, racism, and barriers in equity that persist both in the United States and across the globe.

ReSurge International’s work to provide the world’s most vulnerable populations with life-changing surgical care by developing capacity and dismantling systems of dependence rings hollow if we don’t acknowledge that the struggle for racial equity and justice is happening right here in our own backyards. As an organization, we have been on a journey towards greater diversity, equity, and inclusion in all that we do. For the past year, we have been examining how we approach this work both in the field and within our own internal policies. We will soon share more on this journey and our commitment to embedding DEI in our practices and policies.

As change makers, we have a collective duty to reexamine our industries and fields and push towards greater equity, freedom, and justice. This Juneteenth, let’s celebrate all those fighting for freedom. Let us have courageous conversations about race, and let’s commit to uprooting hate, and intolerance wherever that may be.

In Solidarity,

The ReSurge International Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee

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Sign up for our newsletter and keep up to date on the latest happenings at Resurge International. Join our Community!
* indicates required

Latest Stories

Patient Stories

Stories from the Field

Pride Is Not a Factor: Dr. Swain on Being a Resurg…

For over six years, Dr. Bharatendu Swain has been a ReSurge International Surgical Outreach Partner. …

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Statement

ReSurge International is an international global health organization driven to address surgical ineq …

In Good Hands: The Story of Young Bibas

“Other than the face, our hands are the most communicative part of our body when connecting to the o …

How ReSurge is Shaping the Future: A Conversation …

At ReSurge International, our reconstructive surgical care and training transforms the lives of thou …

Lawrence Cai: Meet the Laub Fellow Quantifying our…

The Donald R. Laub Fellowship program, named after our founder Don Laub, allows for a fourth-year re …

Volunteer Spotlight: Honoring The Golden Girls of …

It’s a sunny day at the Canyon Inn, a classic family diner decked in1970s sports memorabilia in Redw …

Donor Spotlight: How Women Surgeons in Los Angeles…

Empowered women empower women. Since we launched the Pioneering Women in Reconstructive Surgery (PWR …

Learning and Unlearning: Our DEI Journey

“The pandemic plus the national attention to matters of equity—including access to healthcare—have h …

Juneteenth National Independence Day Statement

On June 19, 2021 the United States will celebrate Juneteenth National Independence Day, as an offici …

Surgical Partner Profile: Matolase Mtonga

Dr. Matolase Mtonga always knew she wanted to be a surgeon. But as a medical student in Zambia she f …

Transformations: 2020 Annual Report

The year 2020 was unlike any other. We began on a high note, celebrating our 50th anniversary as the …

Standing in Solidarity with India and Nepal

Dear Friends and Colleagues, The current situation and devastation caused by the novel coronavirus i …

Hope in Nepal: A Mother and Baby’s Journey

A child born with a cleft lip in Nepal has a tough journey ahead. Difficulty breastfeeding and chron …

Volunteer Spotlight: Dharshan Sivaraj

At ReSurge International, we have the honor and privilege to work alongside many talented partners, …

Delali Attiogbe Attipoe Brings a Wealth of Experie…

In pursuit of finding a non-profit that shared her personal passion of expanding health access to th …

Making a Powerful Impact in Peru 

Dr. Percy Rossell-Perry, a practicing reconstructive surgeon at Edgardo Rebagliati Ho …

Board Spotlight: Meredith Taylor

A ReSurge Board Member since 2015, Meredith Taylor was recently named Chair of our Board of Director …

The Higgins-Shaw Nepal Microsurgery Fund 

None of our work would be possible without the steadfast support of you, our donors — together we’re …

Our Founder – Don Laub

Our Founder, Dr. Donald Laub  In 1969, a group of volunteers from the Bay Area’s Latin Ame …

Do You See What I See? 

ReSurge is proud to announce our collaboration with Ohana One International Surgical Aid,  …

Board Spotlight: Eileen Sheldon 

  Eileen Sheldon, ReSurge Board member, recently did a spectacular job chairing our T …

Volunteer Spotlight: Deb Rusy M.D

How did you hear about ReSurge and get involved? One of the University of Wisconsin pediatric neuros …

ReSurge Board Views Impact Up Close

In May, members of ReSurge’s board of directors visited our surgical outreach partner sites in Nepal …

Interview with New Laub Fellow, Chao Long

We are proud to introduce Chao Long, the newly selected Donald R. Laub Fellow. Named for our ReSurge …

Interview with Laub Fellow Dr. Anna Luan

Dr. Anna Luan recently completed the Donald R. Laub Fellowship. Named for our ReSurge founder and co …

Volunteer Spotlight: Sue Fossum

When ReSurge volunteer Sue Fossum first heard about ReSurge, she was working in the PACU at UC Davis …

Dr Hien Thi Nguyen Honored at Transformations Gala

Dr. Hien Thi Nguyen knew the rural poor of her country needed the medical services ReSurge provides. …

ReSurge, COSECSA Partner to Launch Initiative in S…

ReSurge is pleased to be launching a new initiative to increase access to safe reconstructive s …

What I Learned Firsthand on the Ground in Dehradun

By Tom Seery I spent the first days of 2020 in Dehradun, India as part of a visiting educator trip w …

Fiftieth Anniversary Flashback: The 1980’s

When Dr. Mark Singleton was asked to join a surgical mission trip in 1986, he was intrigued by the t …

Kathmandu Leadership Training

Last month, we packed our bags and headed to Kathmandu for a week of leadership training for the emp …

ReSurge and ASSH Volunteers Share Their Experience…

In May of this year, a medical team of hand surgeons and hand therapists traveled with ReSurge, in p …

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Helping India’s Children Heal From Burns

Meet Sheetal. At age 12, she was burned in a fire at her home where she lives with her widowed mothe …

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“If you do something good for others, something good will come to you.” This is how Anthony D. expla …

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A well-known expert in pediatric anesthesiology, Dr. George Gregory has volunteered his skills with …

Dr. Shankar Man Rai Bio

Dr. Shankar Man Rai, a world-renowned expert at repairing clefts and burn injuries, has provided mor …

Dr. Pramila Shakya: Pioneering Women in Reconstruc…

Dr. Shakya is a maxillofacial surgeon at the Nepal Cleft and Burn Center at Kirtipur Hospital in Kat …

Dr. Celma Issufo: Pioneering Women in Reconstructi…

Dr. Issufo is the plastic surgery service director at Mozambique’s Maputo Central Hospital. She trea …

Dr. Shilu Shrestha: Pioneering Women in Reconstruc…

Dr. Shrestha is an orthopedic hand surgeon at the Hospital and Rehabilitation center for Disabled Ch …

Dr. Faith Muchemwa: Pioneering Women in Reconstruc…

Dr. Muchemwa is a consultant plastic and reconstructive  surgeon, at Parirenyatwa Hospital at t …

Dr. Farzana Ibrahim: Pioneering Women in Reconstru…

Dr Ibrahim is a senior registrar in the plastic surgery department at Birdem General Hospital (Bangl …

Dr. Lorena EScudero: Pioneering Women in Reconstru…

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Regaining the Ability to Walk | Mohammed Hussein

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12 Years After Cleft Lip Surgery

Ganesh is 14 years old. Despite living in a small rural village of Nepal, he dreams of becoming a do …

The Road to Hope | Priyanka

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A Glimpse into Man Kumari’s life

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A bright Future | Kalus

Kalus is an 8-year-old boy from a small village between Pokhara and Kathmandu in Nepal, who could no …

Creatively Treating Acute Burns | Astha

Astha, a baby girl in Nepal, fell from her mother’s lap into a fire during a traditional ceremony wh …

Freeing Sirisu’s Hand

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Restoring future dreams | Rinchin

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Without Surgery, School Was Not Within His Reach |…

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Helping Mother and Child | Hoa & Hoai

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A Contracture Released, A Life Renewed | Quynh

Like more than 2 billion people worldwide, Quynh’s family in Vietnam does their cooking over open fi …

Mom and My | A Mother’s Hope

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A Mother’s Dedication | Y Dim

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A Smile 58 Years in the Making | Tam

On a surgical team trip to Quy Nhon, Vietnam, we met Tam, a man who has been waiting 58 years to hav …

Removing Stigma | Huynh

Five-year-old Huynh was born in a small village in Vietnam with a condition known as congenital hair …

The Character and Spirit of Hasan

Hasan is a daughter, a sister, a mother and at the moment, our patient. Hasan’s smile is a clear win …

An Emotional Return to India | Nisha

I’ve been looking forward to returning to Dehradun because I would finally get the opportunity to re …

The Incredible Impact | Punkaj

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Magali: Paying it forward

Magali’s original accident took place when she was two years old. Her mother was preparing caramelo …

Healing Hands: Joseph and Adriana

Joseph is a 7-year-old boy from El Alto, Bolivia. He was born with syndactyly, a condition in which …

Future Basketball Player | Jonathan

When you meet Jonathan, you quickly realize he has more cares than a typical 6-year-old should. He h …

Dara: The Right Start to Life

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Our First Patient | Antonio

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The Real Impact of Surgery | Luis Fernando

On a trip to Ecuador in 2012, we met five-year-old Luis Fernando. Two years prior, he had been terri …

Andrea: From Patient to Nurse

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Making Connections for His Care | Sorie

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Helping Oumar Be Mali’s First Reconstructive Plast…

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Bringing Hope to Mali | Awa

Awa, an 11-year-old girl, was shaking down fruit from a tree with a metal pole when her pole hit a l …

Seeking Advice on a Hyena Bite

When Dr. Goran Jovic was presented the case of a teenager attacked by a hyena, he turned to ReSurge …

A Mother’s Hope For Her Son

Mateo was one of nearly 17,000 people who receive a severe burn every year in Zambia, a country with …

Chrispine and Mwate: Crossing the Border for Hope

Determined to do the best they could for their babies, mothers Bella and Mwanga banded together for …

Jacob’s Arms are Freed

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Meet Jonas from Tanzania

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A mother’s fierce hope | Basanti

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Surgical Partner Profile: Matolase Mtonga

Surgical Partner Profile: Matolase Mtonga

Zambia,
June 17, 2021

Dr. Matolase Mtonga always knew she wanted to be a surgeon. But as a medical student in Zambia she found her true calling when caring for burn patients. “I needed to do more for them,” she realized. Then she met our longtime Surgical Outreach Partner, Dr. Goran Jovic—currently the only licensed plastic surgeon in Zambia—and learned how much more she could help these and other patients via reconstructive surgery. “From there it’s been a steep dive into this love affair,” she says.

In September Dr. Matolase began her final year of surgical training at the University Teaching Hospitals in Lusaka. Dr. Jovic and ReSurge have sponsored her training and helped devise a special focus in plastic surgery for her. Watching Dr. Jovic work has been an inspiration. “The dedication and enjoyment of what he does is infectious. He manages to do quite a lot despite the limits we may have to contend with, in terms of resources, with the help of partners. I am inspired to bring some of my own brand of hope to many people as well.” Once she completes her training and receives her certification from the College of Surgeons of East, Central and Southern Africa (COSECSA), Dr. Matolase is eager to help shape the future of plastic surgery in Zambia. “I hope I can grow the plastic surgery fraternity in Zambia, establish topclass burn care MDTs in the country, and increase options for patients for reconstruction,” she says. She’d also like to increase the amount of research being performed in her country. “We see many ‘rare’ conditions but have yet to share these with the scientific community.”

Above all, Dr. Matolase is keenly aware of the impact that reconstructive surgery has on her patients, especially the poor. “In Zambia, thousands would be crippled or even dead without the assistance coming through ReSurge. We would be hard-pressed to reach and offer interventions to patients in the hidden  regions we go to without ReSurge and its partners.” All in all, “You’re molding a world I like to live in.”

 

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