In November, 2007, to commemorate a quarter-century of providing new smiles, Operation Smile International launched the World Journey of Smiles, a multi-faceted initiative aimed at increasing the number of children served each year. Around the world, on the same day, at the same local time, Operation Smile volunteers conducted 40 missions in 25 countries, with the hope of treating an estimated 5,000 children with facial deformities. As of this writing, 4149 children were reported to have been treated during the World Journey.
Operation Smile is a non-profit volunteer medical services organization which provides free reconstructive surgery to children and young adults around the world suffering with cleft lips, cleft palates and other facial deformities.
Angela Martinelli, RN, PhD an Operation Smile nurse volunteer since 1993 joined the team of volunteers on a mission in Santa Rose de Copan, Honduras. Santa Rosa de Copan is located in the western mountains of Honduras and is a combination of colonial architecture, cobblestone streets, and delightful people. The ruins of Copan, just 7 miles from the Guatemala border is a designated World Heritage Site believed by archeologists to be the cultural center, the Paris, of the Maya world.
As part of the World Journey, Dr. Martinelli was assigned to the Mission site in Santa Rosa de Copan, Honduras. Operation Smile has been a conduction mission in Honduras since 1997. In 2006, Operation Smile Honduras opened its Cleft Lip and Cleft Palate Integral Care Clinic in Tegucigalpa. Currently, more than 300 patients come on a regular basis for free medical care and psycho-social services the clinic offers in the fields of plastic surgery, pediatrics, speech pathology, orthodontics, nutrition and psychology. More than 1,000 consultations have been conducted by the Foundation’s medical volunteers since the clinic opened.
Dr. Martinelli – a very amateur knitter - enjoys knitting hats, scarves and headbands for the patients and their families. She typically knits all year and takes them on her mission, giving them to patient as they arrive for screening or putting then on children to keep then warm during and after surgery.
Notes from the Field. 12/11/2007
CAPT A.M. Martinelli, USPHS
Angela Martinelli, PhD, RN, CNOR Captain, USPHS