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Our History

Antonio’s Story Is ReSurge’s Story

Since 1969, ReSurge has changed people’s lives through reconstructive surgery, and it all started because of Antonio.

A group of volunteers from Stanford University and a local Bay Area charity group met Antonio in Mexico when he was only 13. He was a bright child who desired to live out his dreams like everyone else, but one thing stood in his way — he was born with a severe cleft palate. Antonio was isolated from his community, and had difficulty speaking, eating, and breathing. He never attended school and rarely interacted with others outside of his family.

Determined to make a difference, the volunteers sought help from Stanford University Hospital for Antonio and brought him to Stanford University. Moved by his story, Dr. Robert Chase, Stanford’s Chief of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, performed the operations to repair Antonio’s palate. After recovering from his surgeries, Antonio’s life was transformed. He soon began to attend school and achieved high marks in classes.

Dr. Chase’s mentee, Dr. Donald Laub, Stanford’s Chief of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, heard of Antonio’s success and traveled to Mexico, where he found a tremendous number of children in need of surgical care. Inspired to help people like Antonio, Dr. Laub founded Interplast, now ReSurge International, to provide reconstructive surgeries to low-income communities regularly.

Interplast — now ReSurge — was born.

The Evolution of ReSurge

1969

Determined to help underserved children in Mexico, Dr. Donald Laub establishes a program to provide surgeries regularly in a charity hospital in Mexicali. In 1969, Interplast — now ReSurge — was born, the first organization of its kind.

1970s

To address the need for reconstructive surgery in Latin America, Dr. Laub assembles teams to perform reconstructive surgeries for individuals in Mexico and Central America. Throughout the decade, Dr. Laub’s efforts impacted thousands of people in need.

Volunteer teams of medical professionals make regular trips to Mexico, Nicaragua, and Honduras to provide care, guest lecture at local medical schools, and work alongside local surgeons in operating rooms.

Resurge provides approximately 4,000 surgeries.

1980s

Interplast’s efforts begin to receive national recognition. Diane Sawyer of 60 Minutes joins Interplast volunteers on a surgical trip to Ecuador to document the organization’s work in Latin America. Dr. Laub also receives an award from the President of the United States for his work with Interplast.

Interplast is working in 9 countries.

1990s

During the 1990s, Interplast undergoes significant changes. Rather than continuing the surgical trip model, the organization chooses to focus on the education of local surgeons. This decision to educate and fund local surgical partners is revolutionary & creates sustainable change.

 Interplast is one of the first U.S.-based organizations to work in Vietnam.

Susan Hayes becomes Interplast’s first president and CEO.

Dr. David Dingman is appointed as the first Chief Medical Officer and establishes ReSurge’s legacy of training and impact with the Visiting Educator program and the local Surgical Outreach Partner program.

A Story of Healing, a film that follows the Interplast team in Vietnam, wins an Oscar for best documentary.


Interplast sends a team on the organization’s first Visiting Educator Trip.

Interplast launches the Surgical Outreach Partner program and funds local surgical teams.

2000s

Interplast continues solidifying its training program as the Surgical Outreach Partners program expands its training to cover burn reconstructive surgery during this time. Interpast builds its program in India.

Dr. Shankar Rai and his group in Nepal perform over 1,000 surgeries through Interplast support. To date, Dr. Rai’s team has impacted more than 20,000 patients.

2010s

With a new model comes a new name — Interplast rebrands itself as ReSurge International and celebrates its 100,000th surgery. The Global Surgery movement is born during this time. ReSurge helps establish the Global Alliance for Surgical, Obstetric, Trauma, and Anaesthesia Care (G4 Alliance) with 20 other organizations dedicated to providing a voice for the billions of neglected surgical patients worldwide. ReSurge also publishes academic literature quantifying the impact of its work and model.

Interplast changes its name to ReSurge International.

Dr. James Chang, Johnson & Johnson Distinguished Professor and Chief of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at Stanford University Medical Center, joins ReSurge as the Consulting Medical Officer.

 

ReSurge volunteer Dr. George Gregory publishes the free textbook, Pediatric Anesthesia for ReSurge Trainees.

The Lancet Commission for Global Surgery publishes a document that quantifies the burden of unmet surgical needs for the first time.


Essential Surgery is published. The World Bank finds that greater access to surgical care in developing countries could avert 1.5 million deaths annually.


Jeff Whisenant joins ReSurge as President and CEO.

 

ReSurge partners with SkinCeuticals to launch the Pioneering Women in Reconstructive Surgery (PWRS) program.

Global Reconstructive Surgery, written by ReSurge Consulting Medical Officer Dr. James Chang, is the first textbook of its kind to be published.

A Stanford study finds that the economic benefits of our Visiting Educator program were particularly cost-effective and, on average, had a 22-fold return on investment.

 

ReSurge partners with COSECSA to launch the ReSurge International Program in Africa (RIPA).

 

ReSurge celebrates its 50 years of changing lives through reconstructive surgery.

 

2020s

ReSurge’s ripple effect continues spreading throughout the globe with increased emphasis on long-term sustainability and local capacity building to increase impact. ReSurge starts to build reconstructive surgical capacity in Sub-Saharan Africa, where 93% of the population lack access to surgical care.

When the Covid-19 pandemic restricted programs and travel, ReSurge was the first organization of its kind to swiftly transition into a virtual training model — this virtual training model quadruples the number of trainees reached.


Despite the global pandemic, ReSurge local Surgical Outreach Partners continue to provide free reconstructive surgeries for the poor and perform 100% of all ReSurge surgeries.


The ReSurge team sets an ambitious goal to double the total number of patients served in our first 50 years by 2030.

ReSurge partners with Ohana One to incorporate augmented reality tech in the operating room.

Claire Lachance hired as ReSurge’s new President and CEO.

 

ReSurge launches a new approach to hands-on training: The Surgical Team Training Trip, a hybrid approach to training for the entire surgical team.

 

ReSurge and COSECSA partner to set up the first-ever comprehensive reconstructive surgery curriculum and lecture series across 14 countries in Africa.

Your Support Makes Our Mission Possible

We are grateful for our opportunity to touch the lives of those needing surgical treatment worldwide and grow sustainable systems for local surgical teams in low-income countries. However, we cannot make an impact without your support. Donate today to create a ripple effect that changes the world through life-changing, no-cost reconstructive surgeries.