Face the Future™ missions last one to two weeks and usually involve 8 -16 medical professionals, including surgeons, nurses, anaesthesiologists and other paramedical specialists who can also share their knowledge. Hundreds of volunteer hours are devoted to the planning and preparation of Face the Future™ missions. A medical theme is selected for each mission and the team lead is responsible for recruitment, liaising with partners from afar, booking travel, accommodation and translators. Host colleagues and their institutions collect the most challenging cases for months prior for the arrival of the mission team. After one or two consultation days with the visiting surgeons, host team and parents or guardians, a course of treatment is recommended for each child and surgery, if advisable, is carried out soon after. A range of oromaxillofacial (upper jaw), craniofacial (skull), cleft lip, cleft palate, post-traumatic facial reconstruction, scar repair and nasal reconstruction surgeries are performed on children during the week, depending upon the complexity of the cases. Medical teams are integrated and conduct surgery together, with the help of translators. Academic lectures and workshops are presented to the host medical team during the evenings or on weekends, and include consultant surgeons, residents, medical students and nurses.

These workshops are designed to challenge conventional thinking, create new ideas for better treatment, and provide instruction on the best use of new or existing technology when treating children. These learning opportunities are critical to the local team’s ability to improve the children’s care they provide long after their surgical teachers have gone home.

New missions are preceded by site visits by Dr. Adamson, and are only conducted where local medical institutions act as hosts and where repeat missions are feasible. Face the Future™ missions are a minimum of 5 to 10 year commitments. This model is critical to the long term viability and sustainability of our program. Repeat visits allow volunteer surgeons to assess how well the treatment procedures have been adopted, and assess the local surgeons’ ability to continue operations after the mission team has left. Notes on securing visas, the transportation of donated materials and supplies needed are recorded for subsequent visits. Capital improvements are suggested and where possible, domestically funded by the host institution in preparation for future missions.

The Host team is asked to file a report with the Foundation on the experience of hosting so that improvements can be made to future visits. Western volunteers are asked to provide reports after each mission as well, documenting the cases and making notes for future mission volunteers.

Sample Mission Budget:

  • Economy flights for 8 volunteers ($1,900 per person) $15,200
  • Food and accommodation for 8 volunteers ($800 per person) $5,600
  • Fee for a professional translator with skills in medical terminology $800
  • Travel visas for volunteers ($350 per person) $2,800
  • Training expenses and preparation $1,200
  • Medical equipment $3,000
  • Culminating banquet dinner/celebration for local team $800

Total Expenses: $29,400