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A Fighting CHANCE

Living with a terminal disease or congenital disability is never an easy task. This is doubly true for people in countries where access to even the most basic healthcare is scarce or too expensive.

To put this in perspective, the average daily wage in Haiti is 187 Haitian gourdes—approximately $2—and the cost to correct a cleft lip or palate is respectively $5,000 and $10,000 without insurance, which can easily double if multiple procedures are needed. As a result, people with such conditions often have no other option than to simply live with them.

That’s where the specialists from Jefferson’s Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery are stepping in to help. In 2014, Jefferson started Project CHANCE (Complex Head and Neck Care and Education) with the goal of bringing much-needed aid to impoverished countries such as Haiti, Guatemala, and Belize.

The faculty spends time at their own expense giving back in their own communities and around the world, which is what Jefferson is all about.

William M. Keane, MD Chair of the Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery and co-director for the Jefferson Center for Head and Neck Surgery

Three times a year, a handful of doctors, nurses, and anesthesiologists make the trip to countries in need, treating everything from basic healthcare issues to corrective surgery for facial anomalies to cancer treatments and everything in between.

“The goal is to combine surgery with other therapies that would help cure patients and allow a complete return to normalcy,” says Joseph M. Curry, MD, FACS.

Over the past five years, Project CHANCE has seen more than 300 patients in Haiti, and completed more than 100 major head and neck surgeries and 25 free-tissue transfers.

The CHANCE mission is twofold. It’s not only focusing on providing immediate, lifesaving treatment, but it’s also providing education and training. The otolaryngology department has established a program to bring Haitian residents to Jefferson for three months to train with our head and neck specialists.

CHANCE volunteers work in unison with the students and faculty at the University of Haiti to train the next generation of healthcare professionals in order to move toward providing care domestically.

While training Haitian physicians is vitally important, the effort would be wasted without proper resources and facilities to practice. Another of CHANCE’s end goals is to establish a cancer center run by Haitian doctors to provide year-round treatment to the people of Haiti.

It takes an enormous amount of time, money, resources, and compassion to bring the CHANCE care to nations in need. A donation today will allow Jefferson head and neck specialists to continue to provide lifesaving treatment throughout the Philadelphia region and around the world.