ISAPS-LEAP Humanitarian Program - Overview and Next Steps
The launch of the ISAPS-LEAP Surgical Relief Teams© program at the 21st Biennial Congress of the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ISAPS) in Geneva was received with great enthusiasm. Over 70 plastic surgeons from 15 nations registered to receive more information as the program develops. During a general information session held during the Congress, discussion of the scope and importance of this new initiative led to a change in the proposed name from ISAPS-LEAP Surgical Strike Force to ISAPS-LEAP Surgical Relief Teams© (SRT).
Over the past year, since ISAPS and LEAP agreed to collaborate to prepare ISAPS member volunteers for global rapid response, we have sought to develop strong partnerships to strengthen the platform for shared logistical preparedness.
Co-founder, Dr. Tunc Tiryaki (Turkey) and I briefed the national secretaries and responded to their questions during their day-long meeting held prior to the Congress. Our first open session in Geneva brought together surgeons from Turkey, Georgia, Switzerland and the US as well as representatives from Relief International, Médecins Sans Frontières and the World Health Organization. All of these large humanitarian and medically-focused organizations continued to express what we experienced in Haiti: autonomous plastic surgical teams are crucial in the first week following a major casualty incident. As we move the program forward, we are putting in place the resources to connect, train, equip and deploy ISAPS plastic surgeons throughout the world in times of crisis.
Connect – Our goal is to provide an interactive and informative on-line resource for the surgical teams. This phase has already begun with several pages on the LEAP website www. leap-foundation.org/disaster-relief. A secure, password-protected page, rich with resources, is available for registered SRT surgeons. In early October, we were an invited participant in a global conference to learn about and help develop collaborative software for NGOs to share information. Our goal is for the SRT to connect surgical teams to the areas and organizations that need them most, and we believe being on the forefront of software and online resources will enable that connection.
Train – Our partnership with Relief International opens the opportunity for the SRT to customize and organize training sessions throughout the world. We are also pursuing opportunities with other training organizations. Our first ISAPS member-volunteers attended a training course in Portland, Oregon in the Pacific Northwest of the United States in mid-October and we hope to have a mobile training course at several ISAPS meetings throughout the year.
Equip – A unique opportunity presented itself at the Congress for vendors and suppliers to become founding sponsors of this sought-after initiative. Within the next year we hope to have several “Surgical Go Kits” throughout the world ready for the teams when they need them. As we experienced in Haiti, a surgeon without equipment cannot be fully effective.
Deploy – As we develop the network of ISAPS member volunteers and other supporting organizations, we can develop a clear avenue for deployment. The equipment, training, and connection pieces are key to smooth activation in times of crisis.
We have made great strides, but need continued support from ISAPS members, sponsors, and suppliers as we develop this global program. Progress reports will be a regular feature in ISAPS News. Members who wish to be considered for team involvement can contact the ISAPS Executive Office for more information.
Craig Hobar, MD – United states
LEAP Founder and Surgical Relief Teams Co-Founder