2014 Community Partnership Award Winners



Surgery Weekend Program

Surgery Weekend Program

A society with economic opportunity is one in which all children have the chance to reach their full potential. But what about kids who have a deformity due to a birth defect, accident, illness or trauma? The effect can be devastating for their self-confidence and development, especially when the disfigurement is on the face.

At Fresh Start Surgical Gifts, an all-volunteer team of world-class surgeons, dentists and other medical providers is transforming the lives of disadvantaged children with physical deformities through the extraordinary gift of reconstructive surgery, dental and health-related services. These ongoing services are provided through Fresh Start’s Surgery Weekend program, a first-of-its-kind partnership with Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego, CA.

Fresh Start was launched in 1991 by Dr. Dennis Nigro, a renowned San Diego plastic surgeon who recognized that low-income, underinsured children with craniofacial deformities had few options when it came to getting medical care. At first these pro-bono services were provided in his office, but by 2002 Dr. Nigro and a top volunteer reconstructive surgeon, Dr. Steven Cohen, saw the need for a more comprehensive approach.

The result was a unique collaboration with the Rady Children’s Hospital and the creation in 2009 of the Fresh Start Clinic, a 7,800 square foot state-of-the-art facility on Rady’s campus. In exchange for the use of Rady’s operating rooms on the weekends, Fresh Start gave Rady access to its clinic during the week, thus maximizing the number of patients each can serve. Today, Fresh Start treats 400 children annually, providing the long-term care they need to continue on a healthy path to adulthood.

"The Fresh Start Clinic at Rady Children’s Hospital symbolizes the transformative power of partnership,” said Shari Brasher, CEO of Fresh Start Surgical Gifts. “This June, we expanded our reach by launching a Surgery Weekend program at the University of Chicago Comer Children’s Hospital, a first step in our goal to replicate this program nationally. We won’t stop until every child gets the chance to put their best face forward."

Fresh Start Surgical Gifts

Surgery Weekend Program

Rady Children’s Hospital
University of Chicago Comer Children’s Hospital
Plastic Surgery Foundation

A Collaborative Approach to Community Dental Care
Revitalization of the East Lake Community
Elder Health Clinic   Ready, Willing & Able—Employer Partners
Just Peachy Salsa: Feeding Communities, Helping Farmers   Ronald McDonald Care Mobile
Patient AirLift Services and Shriners Hospital for Children   Rowe Elementary School
Philadelphia Reads—A Children’s Literacy Initiative    
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