ASTANA (TCA) — The US-based Surgicorps International’s team is making its 1st surgical trip to Kazakhstan after an exploratory trip in March that confirmed significant need for Surgicorps’ services in the Central Asian country, the US Embassy in Kazakhstan said.

The team’s 5-day stay in Kazakhstan, which started on May 19, includes surgical procedures including repair and reconstruction of congenital deformities and acquired deformities such as cleft palate, cleft lip and burn scar contracture.

Surgicorps is partnered with the Asyl Bala Foundation in order to provide services at the University Medical Center, affiliate of the National Research Center for Maternal and Child Health in Astana.

Led by founder and plastic surgeon, Dr. Jack Demos, Surgicorps’ Kazakhstan team includes 12 volunteers: Tara Burns, Alex Dzurovchik, Melinda Handler, Betty Hearne, David Kim, Guy Leone, Larisa Mason, Aamir Siddiqui, James Terman and Anna Wooten.

Kazakhstani medical students from the Nazarbayev University School of Medicine (NUSOM), under the leadership of Dean Massimo Pignatelli, are also volunteering to make this program possible. They act as interpreters between the English-speaking American team and local medical staff. By volunteering, the students observe the work of skilled surgeons, apply their knowledge of medical terminology, and contribute to a noble mission.

Surgicorps International was founded in 1994. Since that time, more than 5,000 operations have been performed by the organization’s medical teams in 20 countries. Between 4-6 missions are undertaken each year with a volunteer team of medical and non-medical personnel typically numbering between 15 and 35.

* Surgicorps International’s team has visited NUSOM and Dr Aamir Siddiqui, Division Head of Plastic Surgery at Henry Ford Hospital Wayne State University, Detroit (Michigan) gave a lecture entitled "Plastic Surgery Overview"