Smile Train’s CEO, Susannah Schaefer, Visits Dubai to Collaborate and Strengthen Partnerships
“My visit to Dubai was filled with excitement, optimism, and a focus on moving a few steps closer to making Smile Train’s vision a reality: a world where every person has access to safe, high-quality, comprehensive cleft care.” – Susannah Schaefer, CEO – Smile Train
Dubai, UAE – 3 March 2023 – Susannah Schaefer, CEO of Smile Train, the world’s largest cleft-focused organization, visited Dubai with the goal of strengthening the organization’s partnerships and network in the Middle East and its sub-regions.
Speaking about her trip, she said, “Smile Train has been working with local experts to address the needs of cleft-affected children and families across the Middle East since we launched our first partnerships in the region in Pakistan two decades ago. My time here centered around building on that strong foundation for the future.”
During her weeklong trip to Dubai, Schaefer met with the CEO of Dubai’s International Humanitarian City (IHC), Giuseppe Saba. They discussed their organizations’ longtime partnership and IHCs invaluable role in helping Smile Train serve children with clefts across the MENA region and manage their Dubai operations.
Schaefer also had the opportunity to meet with other supporters and partners, including Dr. Raza Siddiqui, the CEO of Arabian Healthcare (the holding company of RAK Hospital, our surgical partner in the UAE); other Emirati charities; local Smile Train Student Ambassadors; and other fundraisers and supporters.
“We all share a common goal – ensuring that every baby born with a cleft has the care they deserve,” she added.
SMILE TRAIN’S PLANS IN THE REGION
“The support and the partnerships Smile Train has developed throughout the MENA region have changed so many lives. We’re grateful for the community we’ve found here and for the medical professionals we work with to ensure that every cleft-affected person has access to the care they need,” said Schaefer.
Patient safety is Smile Train’s top priority, as is enabling all of their regional partner hospitals to provide the highest standard of care for all. This goal is an ever-moving target, and Smile Train understands that hitting it will require constant education and training for cleft teams; investments in infrastructure, technology, and equipment for our partner hospitals; strong relationships with families and communities; and continuing communication, collaboration, and prioritization among all stakeholders.
“Over the coming months and years, our focus will be on working hand-in-hand with our partners and communities throughout the MENA region to identify gaps and challenges, find solutions, and ensure that every cleft-affected person and family has access to the highest standard of care. We’ll also work alongside our partners to raise awareness and reach communities. We’ll be using a lot of different strategies, including working with our Student Ambassadors, medical and corporate partners, media contacts, press team, and ambassadors, and continually building our network of advocates and champions within the region. This is a message that can change – and even save – lives.” she added
If you would like more information about Smile Train’s global efforts, wish to refer a patient to one of our regional partners, or make a donation to support cleft care across the Middle East, please visit smiletraindubai.org or @smiletraindubai on Instagram.
About Smile Train
Smile Train empowers local medical professionals with training, funding, and resources to provide free cleft surgery and comprehensive cleft care to children globally. We advance a sustainable solution and scalable global health model for cleft treatment, drastically improving children’s lives, including their ability to eat, breathe, speak, and ultimately thrive. To learn more about how Smile Train’s sustainable approach means donations have both an immediate and long-term impact, please visit smiletrain.org.