The role of smile train and the partner hospital model in surgical safety, collaboration, and quality in the developing world

Chad A. Purnell, Jennifer L. McGrath, Arun K. Gosain*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Background: The partner hospital model identifies hospitals in the developing world to educate and enable local surgeons to deliver effective cleft care. This study aimed to determine the outcomes of this model on safety, education, and quality of surgical care. Methods: Twelve partner hospitals, sponsored by Smile Train for 5 or more years and distributed over 4 continents,were selected. Activities at each institution were evaluated using cleft surgical data, and surveys were completed by hospital leadership. Results: A mean of 82% of cleft patients at partner hospitals underwent sponsored surgeries. After partnership, all 12 hospitals implemented preoperative checklists for cleft surgery, and 5 implemented checklists for other surgeries. All hospitals had personnel who received safety training as a result of partnership. There was no change in 30-day reoperations or readmissions. Follow-up rate increased by 18% (P=0.03). Facilities recruited 1.8 additional cleft surgeons (P<0.01) and increased the number of cleft surgical trainees by a mean of 13.3 annually (P=0.012); 2.5-1.7 additional ancillary services were added, resulting in 75% of partner hospitals having a basic multidisciplinary cleft team (surgery, speech, and dental) compared with 25% prior to partnership (P<0.01). Total cleft surgeries, alveolar bone grafts, and percentage of secondary surgeries increased significantly as length of partnership progressed (P<0.01). Conclusions: Smile Train's partner hospital model increases both the volume and quality of cleft care delivered at these institutions. Safety initiatives for cleft care demonstrate effects extending to global surgical care delivered at partner hospitals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1129-1133
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Craniofacial Surgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015


  • International cleft surgery
  • Smile Train
  • developing countries
  • multidisciplinary cleft care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology


Dive into the research topics of 'The role of smile train and the partner hospital model in surgical safety, collaboration, and quality in the developing world'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this