Dr. Paul Gardner’s Mission Work
While Dr. Gardner is highly regarded locally for his knowledge and performance as a cosmetic surgeon, his name is much more widespread. Dr. Gardner has also done mission work using his personal time to travel to Central America, South America, and Asia on eight “Operation Smile” missions.
Operation Smile is an organization that was founded in 1982 and is known for the work done by volunteer surgeons to correct facial deformities. These surgeries are mostly done on young children in third world countries who might not otherwise have access to or be able to afford the surgery. Although Dr. Gardner has mentioned the organization’s strong desire to specifically target children, he has shared stories of several adults he has treated with Operation Smile, and how truly inspiring it has been to have the ability to help people of all ages.
In his experience, Dr. Gardner notes time efficiency as one of the more important aspects of mission work. He always knew he wanted to do mission work, and chose Operation Smile because of the efficiency in setting up and recruiting patients to each mission site. With just a couple weeks to actually screen for and do the surgery, Dr. Gardner notes it is about doing the maximum amount of good in the minimum amount of time.
Dr. Gardner has performed several local surgeries similar to those performed overseas. "The infrastructure to treat kids with facial deformities here in the United States is so good here that you rarely see kids with any of these problems. It is truly heartbreaking to go to these other countries and see fully grown kids walking around with defects that can be fixed with an hour and a half surgery. I actively support Operation Smile and encourage all my patients to contribute as well."