Global Education and Outreach

View Office of Global Surgery and Health in a larger map

Founded in 1824 on the principal of caring for the community and inviting “the poor, afflicted with diseases of the eye to come there for gratuitous aid,” Mass. Eye and Ear has had a long legacy of contributing to public health. Many faculty and staff at Mass. Eye and Ear have taken up this cause globally, performing life-altering surgical care, conducting vital skills-based training, providing vision and hearing screening, and establishing self-sustaining clinics and programs. Volunteer medical missions have taken place in El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Cambodia, Vietnam, Ethiopia, Honduras, Kenya, Russia and many other locations throughout the world.




Ramon A. Franco, M.D., conducts biannual medical missions to Honduras to perform airway reconstructive surgery, to address voice care problems, and to care for patients with laryngeal cancer. Joined by Eric Holbrook, M.D., Jihad Achkar, M.D., and Jayme Dowdall, M.D., Dr. Franco serves as a mentor to specialists in Honduras and to trainees in the country’s only ENT residency program, providing telemedicine support from Boston.

kenya1International 20Thyroid 20Mission 20teamedited


In February 2012, a surgical team from Mass Eye and Ear comprised of Dr. Gregory Randolph, Dr. Paul Konowitz, Dr. David Lesnik, resident Dr. Dunia Abdul-Aziz and Nancy Kotzuba, R.N. provided medical and surgical care to patients with head and neck disease in Migori, Kenya. Teaming up with nurses, anesthesiologists and local staff of, the team performed 25 head-and neck-procedures in 3 days, including 18 subtotal thyroidectomies for large goiters.

_MG_1494edited2ecuador med mission031edited127x


Initiated by Drs. Mack Cheney and Tessa Hadlock, 2013 was the eleventh year that a dedicated Microtia Mission has gone to Quito, Ecuador with HUGS (Help Us Give Smiles), headed by Paul Sabini, M.D. Based at Hospital Padre Carollo outside Quito, the team, composed of Mass Eye and Ear facial plastics faculty, fellows, and staff, performed 125 procedures. Microtia “small ear” is a common birth defect in the indigenous population of the Andes. An average of three surgical procedures carried over a period of 1 – 2 years is usually required to repair microtia. In the interests of reducing the wait time between procedures, team surgeons have begun to use the Nagata auricular reconstruction method to combine the first-stage operation involving the harvesting of costal cartilage and fabrication of the 3-D cartilage framework, with the second-stage procedure which changes the lobule position, and the fourth stage to create the tragus and the conchal bowl. Over a decade spent conducting in microtia reconstruction in Quito has allowed for the opportunity to collect longitudinal data on surgical outcomes and genealogy to better understand the treatment and nature of this hereditary condition.

During the 2012 trip to Quito, Dr. Oon Tian Tan, Director of the Lynch Laser Center, oversaw the installation of a Candela/Syneron Alexandrite Laser at the Instituto Medico Tierra Neuva, Quito for laser hair removal for newly formed ears. The laser was funded by an award from the Mass. Eye and Ear “Curing Kids Fund”.

Additional trips have been carried out by the Mass. Eye and Ear Microtia Mission Team to Le Antigua, Guatelmala (Hospital Santo Hermano Pedro) and Hanoi, Vietnam (National ENT Hospital of Vietnam).

Team 20surgeyreditededitedTeamedited


Established under the direction of Dr. Christopher Hartnick in 2011, Operation Airway is a non-profit initiative that conducts annual trips to Ecuador to help care for children with airway disorders. A team of surgeons, anesthesiologists, pediatric nurses, and ICU physicians specializes in carrying out surgical procedures to restore and rebuild children’s airways so that they can be free of tracheotomy tubes and can breathe, speak, and swallow on their own. In order to promote future sustainability, the team works with local physicians and healthcare professionals to provide training on how to handle complex surgical procedures independently.

For more information, please visit the Operation Airway website



Dr. Roberto Pineda has a long history working with ORBIS, a nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating avoidable blindness and restoring sight in the developing world, participating in ten missions over the years. Joined by Mass. Eye and Ear anesthesiologists, Dr. Pineda performs cornea surgeries and participates in training local ophthalmologists.



Under the auspices of Healing the Children, Dr. Michael Cohen and audiologist Annmarie Hennessey participated in a medical mission trip to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, providing surgical care to children with ear disease as well as basic otologic care to the 150 children at the Makanissa School for the Deaf. Dr. Cohen also worked with local ENT residents and physicians at Black Lion Training Hospital.

“When we preserve a woman’s sight, we improve the lives of her children, spouse, and community. We want women to know that they can take steps to optimize their eye health.”

- Ilene K. Gipson, PhD, Women’s Eye


Recognizing the increased and disproportionate risk of eye disease borne by women, a group of researchers at Mass Eye and Ear’s Schepens Eye Research Institute teamed with colleagues in the United States and abroad to form, an online education and advocacy group that raises public awareness about women’s eye health, and supports blindness prevention research and programs.

For more information, please visit Women'»

Page updated: May 31, 2013