Lighthall and Shah-Becker Provide Complete Cleft Care on International Surgical Mission Trip
Jessyka Lighthall, MD, joined the Foundation for Advancement in Cleft Education and Services (FACES) team on a service mission trip to Lambayeque, Peru, to perform cleft lip and palate surgery. It was the fourth mission trip for the assistant professor in the division of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery and the director of facial plastic and reconstructive surgery at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center.
FACES Foundation, based in Portland, Oregon, offers “comprehensive, high-quality care for children and adults with cleft lip and palate deformities,” according to its website. Each year, FACES team members travel to northern Peru to treat indigent, medically isolated patients in two local hospitals. The team includes anesthesiologists, nurses, surgeons and speech language pathologists from throughout the U.S. Patients also receive dental evaluations and care, health exams with local pediatricians, specialty consultations as needed, and follow-up care with local providers.
On a mission trip in January 2017, the team members operated between 10 to 14 hours per day for seven days and treated approximately 55 children. “It is an exhausting week but always the most rewarding experience in my medical career,” says Dr. Lighthall. “The families are so appreciative.”
Foundation team members also perform outreach and screening in Peru during follow-up trips throughout the year, which allows for continuity of care. Shivani Shah-Becker, MD, a resident in Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery at Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, joined the team in 2016. “It was a challenge working in the somewhat primitive conditions we found in the Peruvian hospitals,” she says, “but also a privilege to provide this life-changing surgery for these children.”
Drs. Lighthall and Shah-Becker both plan to participate in future surgical mission trips.
Director, Penn State Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
Assistant Professor, Penn State Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery
Fellowship: Facial plastic and reconstructive surgery, University of Minnesota Hospitals and Clinics, Minneapolis, Minn.
Residency: Otolaryngology-head and neck surgery, Oregon Health Sciences University, Portland, Ore.
Medical School: Oregon Health Sciences University School of Medicine, Portland, Ore.
Connect with Jessyka G. Lighthall, MD, on Doximity
Shivani Shah-Becker, MD
Resident, Penn State Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery
Residency: Otolaryngology and general surgery, Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, Hershey, Pa.
Medical School: Michigan State University College of Human Medicine, East Lansing, Mich.
Connect with Shivani Shah-Becker, MD, on Doximity