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SkinCeuticals Partnership Empowers Women in Developing Countries

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SkinCeuticals has announced that they have partnered with ReSurge International, in order to help train women surgeons in reconstructive surgery in developing countries.

Started in 1969, ReSurge International has provided over 100,000 reconstructive surgeries to patients in developing countries. In 2014, ReSurge introduced its Global Training Program & Academic Faculty, which worked with medical faculty to educate and train surgeons in developing countries.

"Over two-thirds of the population, often in low-income countries, lack access to safe and timely reconstructive care." —Leslie Eden Harris, global general manager of SkinCeuticals

Recently, Skin Inc. had the opportunity to talk to Leslie Eden Harris, global general manager of SkinCeuticals about this partnership and the importance of this work:

Skin Inc. (SI): How did the partnership with ReSurge International come about?

Leslie Eden Harris (LEH): Over the past few years we have gotten to know a number of plastic surgeons and dermatologists who are performing reconstructive work on a pro-bono basis—treating survivors of accidents, burns and congenital conditions. We were very inspired by their work and wanted to see how we could become more involved in supporting reconstructive care on a more global level.  

As we learned more, we were struck by the sheer global need—that over two-thirds of the population, often in low-income countries, lack access to safe and timely reconstructive care. To help address this gap, there needs to be more reconstructive surgeons in these countries. We were excited to find ReSurge International, a global non-profit dedicated to training local surgeons in order to improve access to safe and timely reconstructive surgery in underserved parts of the world.     

"The power of ReSurge International’s approach to improving access to safe and timely reconstructive surgery is their “teach to fish” model. Our hope is that training this first cohort of surgeons means that they will be able to teach and support the growth of surgical networks and expand care." 

Together, we quickly agreed that equality of medical training is essential to increasing the number of reconstructive surgeons in low-income countries. We decided to co-develop Pioneering Women in Reconstructive Surgery, which combines visiting educator programs, leadership training, mentorship support and funding of supplies to help female surgeons in low-income countries grow their knowledge and as a result, provide networks of reconstructive surgical care within their communities.

SI: What barriers do clients and patients have received care in developing countries?  

LEH: For people in developing countries who suffer from burn injuries or congenital conditions, a change in their appearance can change their lives—enabling them to fully participate in their communities, attend school and provide for their families.Often, however, barriers prevent them from accessing safe reconstructive surgery as quickly as they need it.  The barriers are threefold:

  1. Having the resources to afford life-changing reconstructive care
  2. Geographic—often times patients live in rural or secluded areas with limited access to care
  3. Number of surgeons available to treat the number of patients who need care

Partnering with ReSurge International, we felt that focusing on the third point was our greatest opportunity to make a real impact.  

SI: For the five female surgeons, what will be their role in the community after they are trained in reconstructive surgical care?

LEH: The power of ReSurge International’s approach to improving access to safe and timely reconstructive surgery is their “teach to fish” model. Our hope is that training this first cohort of surgeons means that they will be able to teach and support the growth of surgical networks and expand care

SI: How does this partnership fit into SkinCeuticals's larger goals and mission?

LEH: At SkinCeuticals, we believe that knowledge is power, and we are committed to doctors in the field of skin health and esthetics. The Pioneering Women in Reconstructive Surgery initiative allows us to expand this commitment in socially-relevant ways, to continue to use knowledge to transform the lives of those providing and those in need of life-altering surgical care.