An international trip to perform reconstructive surgeries in Sierra Leone helps plastic surgeon in Portland “pay it forward.”
Portland, OR – For Dr. Kathleen Waldorf, a board-certified Portland plastic surgeon, philanthropy is an integral aspect of her life and her work. Dr. Waldorf and Dr. Shannon O’Brien of The Waldorf Center for Plastic Surgery subscribe to a “pay it forward” philosophy in which the practice donates time, money, and service to give back not only to Oregon, but internationally as well.
In keeping with the practice’s philosophy, Dr. Waldorf recently returned from her second medical mission to Sierra Leone in West Africa. According to the Portland plastic surgeon, Sierra Leone does not have any plastic surgeons, and the country’s average citizen earns only $200 a year. For these reasons, Dr. Waldorf traveled to use her expertise in cleft palate surgery and other reconstructive procedures in order to assist those who would not otherwise have the opportunity. While there, she and fellow doctors were able to attend to 103 patients and complete 86 procedures over five days.
When asked what effect this trip had on her as a plastic surgeon as well as a human being, Dr. Waldorf replied: “Working in a third world country helps one realize how fortunate we are in the U.S. with resources and expertise readily available. It is a privilege to provide care for patients, and it is rewarding to feel like you are making a positive impact on their lives.”
Dr. Waldorf traveled with a charitable organization known as Women for World Health. The organization seeks to address the health care needs of developing nations through volunteer support. Its vision takes a holistic approach that focuses on providing medical care while seeking to educate impoverished people worldwide. This vision coincides with Dr. Waldorf’s goals as a surgeon, regardless of whether she is performing reconstructive procedures, or cosmetic procedures such as breast augmentation or liposuction.
Dr. Waldorf’s recent travel to Sierra Leone was her third international medical mission. In 2010, she worked in Sierra Leone where she and her fellow surgeons with Women for World Health completed 84 reconstructive surgeries. In 2011, she traveled to Ecuador to help children suffering from cleft lip and cleft palate where she and her team members completed 79 reconstructive surgeries.
As practitioners of plastic surgery in Portland, Dr. Waldorf and Dr. O’Brien also give locally. The Waldorf Center for Plastic Surgery donates to the Oregon Food Bank and the Humane Society. As the practice strives to “pay it forward,” communities both near and far benefit from this philanthropic work ethic.
About Kathleen Waldorf, MD
Dr. Kathleen Waldorf is a dual board-certified member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons and the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. A graduate of Georgetown University’s medical school, she completed her residency in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at Oregon Health Sciences University. Dr. Waldorf works with the Cleft Palate Team at the Randall Children’s Hospital at Legacy Emanuel to surgically correct cleft lip and cleft palate. Through her affiliations with the ASPS and ASAPS, she is able to continue her commitment to medical education and stay current with the latest developments in plastic and reconstructive surgery.
About Shannon O’Brien, MD
Dr. Shannon O’Brien is a board-certified member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. A graduate of Texas A&M University, she completed her medical degree at the University of Texas School of Medicine at San Antonio. During her time there, she was elected into the Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Honor Society. Dr. O’Brien later served as Chief Resident at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine in 2008, completing a 6-year integrated residency program in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and General Surgery.
Drs. Waldorf and O’Brien are available for interview upon request.