NEW YORK, February 14, 2011 /PRNewswire/ --
The boards of directors of Smile Train and Operation Smile, two of the leading cleft lip and cleft palate charities in the world, today announced that they have voted to combine the two organizations into a single new entity, to be known as Operation Smile Train.
In a joint statement, Charles B. Wang, Co-founder of Smile Train and Dr. William P. and Kathleen S. Magee, Co-founders of Operation Smile, said, "We are delighted that our boards have voted to unite our two organizations. By combining our talented staffs and programs, we bring together the best volunteer doctors and other medical personnel, with the best in-country facilities, and will be able to reach more children than the two charities would have separately. Additionally, our merged resources and knowledge will enhance educational and research programs, laying the foundation for long-term, locally-driven progress in cleft lip and cleft palate treatment."
Howard J. Unger, currently the Chief Operating Officer of Operation Smile, will hold the same title in the new organization and will have day-to-day management responsibility. Operation Smile Train will be headquartered in Norfolk, Virginia, and will have an office in New York City.
With a combined history of over 40 years, Smile Train and Operation Smile have jointly provided 750,000 surgeries to children with cleft lips and/or cleft palates. Together, their operations span over 90 countries, where they also have helped provide related training to thousands of surgeons, anesthesiologists, nurses and other medical professionals.
William R. Fox, the current Chairman of Operation Smile's Board, commented, "This is a natural combination that unites two of the leading cleft lip and cleft palate charities into what will be one of the largest surgical, humanitarian, non-profit organizations in the world. Over many years our two organizations have distinguished themselves by providing life-changing surgeries to hundreds of thousands of children around the world, while operating in a highly efficient manner. Operation Smile Train will continue this tradition. We are tremendously excited for what lies ahead."
The merger of Smile Train and Operation Smile is subject to obtaining all necessary regulatory approvals under New York and Virginia law, including the New York Attorney General's Office.
About Smile Train
Founded in 1998, Smile Train is a world leading cleft lip and cleft palate charity with thousands of partners and programs in many of the world's poorest countries. Smile Train provides free cleft lip and cleft palate surgery to children from poor families, giving them not just a new smile but a new life. Smile Train gives financial support and training to on-ground institutions in 78 countries around the world. http://www.smiletrain.org
About Operation Smile
Founded in 1982 by Dr. Bill and Kathy Magee, Operation Smile, headquartered in Norfolk, Virginia, is a worldwide children's medical charity whose network of global volunteers is dedicated to helping improve the health and lives of children and young adults. Since its founding, Operation Smile has treated thousands of children born with cleft lips, cleft palates and other facial deformities, and the organization has a presence in more than 60 countries. In addition to contributing free medical treatment, Operation Smile trains local medical professionals in its partner countries and donates crucial equipment to lay the groundwork for long-term self-sufficiency. To date, Operation Smile has established numerous permanent comprehensive care centers around the world.
Contacts: --------- For Operation Smile: Kyla Shawyer: +1-757-321-3225 For Smile Train: Andrew Frank: +1-212-515-1984
SOURCE Smile Train; Operation Smile