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The Fellowship of Smiles

Building the next generation of cleft surgeons

Smile Train partners Dr Parth Guar and Dr Milen Mathew smiling at Sushrut Institute of Plastic Surgery in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh

Quality, availability, and access – are the three most essential pillars of comprehensive cleft care. Achieving excellence in these aspects demands a foundation built on competency in the domain. Smile Train supported Fellowship Program across various partner hospitals aims to build capacity of young surgeons in cleft care.

Smile Train supported Fellowship Programs transform doctors into compassionate healers with an expertise in managing holistic, multi-disciplinary cleft care. Meet Dr. Parth Gaur and Dr. Milen Mathew, who recently completed their Surgical Fellowship at Smile Train partner hospital, Sushrut Institute of Plastic Surgery (SIPS), Lucknow.

Dr Parth Guar and Dr Milen Mathew train with their mentor
Training session with the Mentor

Dr. Parth Gaur, a Maxillofacial Surgeon, reflects on his life after joining the Fellowship Program. In a voice tinged with nostalgia he said, “I am thankful for this opportunity. My ability to assess, diagnose, and treat a patient with cleft is much stronger now. But it wasn’t a swift stride: I had to learn the art of a counsellor, supporter, and empathetic surgeon at the same time.”

This profound shift is echoed in Dr. Mathew's story as well. Maxillofacial Surgeon, Dr Milen Mathew, recalled the deliberate push that led him to embark on this fellowship and expressed with great sincerity, 'During my graduation, my mentor motivated me to pursue this fellowship, and I couldn't have made a better choice in my life.”

Apart from building surgical expertise under the able guidance of senior surgeons and opportunities to attend workshops, conferences to exchange knowledge, Smile Train supported Fellows explore the world of human emotions in great detail. When discussing the first operation he carried out as a part of the program, Dr. Parth Gaur's eyes shone, "The child after surgery looked so different, it felt like a miracle, and I was amazed and humbled to see the happiness in his parents’ eyes.”

Dr Parth Guar smiling and holding a baby patient
Dr. Parth Gaur’s smile says it all!

Dr. Milen Mathew agreed with this perspective, “The curriculum didn't solely emphasize surgical abilities. Interacting with patients and understanding the cultural norms that influence their decisions has broadened my perspective."

Dr Milen Mathew visiting with a patient and their father
Community visit and counseling

Dr. Raj Kumar Mishra, Project Director, Smile Train and Managing Director who leads the Fellowship Program at SIPS Hospital, stated, “These fellows extend their services to peripheral areas, attending camps and interacting with patients and villagers. Considering the stigma associated with this cleft condition, trainees are mentored to comprehend every aspect either directly or indirectly associated with clefts.”

Smile Train supported Fellowship Programs transcend mere training; it's a journey of the heart. Dr. Parth Gaur and Dr. Milen Mathew now embody compassion alongside skill, creating everlasting smiles. Their quest is a seamless mix of talent and compassion, changing the world one smile at a time.

Dr Parth Guar and Dr Milen Mathew using practical applications of their classroom learnings
Translating classroom learnings into practical application