Caitlin Swift and Ashleigh Cruickshank were the first two medical students selected to participate with Operation Smile as part of their surgical training.
They spent two weeks in Phnom Penh in Cambodia with a group of more than 40 Operation Smile surgeons and nurses from around the world, working to repair cleft lip and palate deformities on children.
Caitlin said the days were long and exhausting but the knowledge that she was witnessing children’s lives change forever made it all worthwhile.
“Most of the children having surgery were very young and unable to really understand what was happening, so what I found most rewarding to see was the parents’ reactions, particularly to the cleft lip patients,” Caitlin said. “They would be taken into the recovery room to greet their child and just gaze at them with a big smile on their face.”
“Knowing that the surgery was going to improve the child’s socialization, education and eventually employment prospects made this experience even more fulfilling. The Operation Smile team was truly changing these children’s lives.”
Caitlin said she learned about surgery, anesthetics and pediatrics, and gained insight into charity work while surrounded by talented and inspirational health professionals willing to share their knowledge and wisdom.
“I look forward to one day having the skills as a doctor to allow me to contribute more than I can now as a student,” she said.
Operation Smile Australia Founder and UQ medical alumnus Dr Richard Lewandowski said the student program was an exciting new phase for the organization.
“Operation Smile, both globally and in Australia, has a core value of providing continuous education, and creating opportunities for medical students to volunteer is a large component of this,” he said. “The student program is a great opportunity for students to experience a unique environment which will add significant value to their future careers.”
About Operation Smile
Operation Smile Australia Ltd is a not-for-profit organization providing free reconstructive surgery to children and young adults born with facial deformities in developing countries.
By providing education for local medical staff and local communities, Operation Smile creates sustainable change for children, families, and communities.
Operation Smile Australia sends credentialed medical volunteers to Operation Smile’s International Medical Missions around the world to treat children over a two-week period.
Medical professionals from Australian and New Zealand have assisted in treating more than 200,000 children and young adults.
About UQ Medical School
UQ School of Medicine is known as ‘Australia’s Global Medical School.’ It conducts a four-year graduate-entry medical program, the Bachelor of Medicine Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS). The MBBS program is designed to produce global doctors who are able to meet today’s challenges. The curriculum has been planned to capture the enthusiasm and maturity of its graduate entrants and help them develop into highly skilled medical graduates capable of entering the wide variety of career options open to them worldwide.
Offers will be made to eligible applicants on a “rolling admissions,” first-come, first-served basis.
- Completed degree (bachelor, master, PhD)
- GPA equivalent to 5.0 on UQ’s 7.0 scale
- MCAT score (minimum 8/8/8 or 8/8/M/8) or GAMSAT score (minimum of 50 in each section)
- Compulsory consultative meeting with the UQ Medical School
Find out more about the UQ Medical School and other medical schools in Australia. Contact OzTREKK for the latest information about medical school at Australian universities. Email OzTREKK’s Australian Medical Schools Admissions Officer Broghan Dean at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call toll free in Canada at 1 866-698-7355.