Razom & LEAP Global Missions & CMA UA – training trip to Lviv in March 2023.

Razom for Ukraine welcomed back a team of doctors from LEAP Global Missions who  completed their 7-day medical visit to Lviv in March 2023. The team consulted more than 200 children and performed 35 highly-skilled surgeries at following hospitals: Ohkhmadyt Lviv Regional Children’s Hospital,  First Emergency Adult Hospital, St. Nicholas Children’s Hospital, and a Military Hospital.

The team was organized by Dr. Steve Orten (tag), a plastic surgeon from Texas who visited Ukrainian hospitals independently in 2022 and shared his experience with US colleagues from LEAP Global Missions (tag), motivating them to visit Ukraine. The team’s preparation lasted two months, including regular Zoom meetings with Ukrainian doctors, patient selection, and revision of medical supplies. 

Photo: Dr. Steve Orten, Plastic Surgeon from Texas USA and Ukrainian surgeon Dr. Christina Pohranychna look at CT scans of a patient in  Lviv Regional Children’s Hospital as the father looks on.

The Co-Pilot Project: an initiative within Razom for Ukraine which coordinates and supports medical missions, supports this team of surgeons by covering housing, food, medical supplies, transportation, and providing scrubs to the doctors. Drs. Steve Orten (tag) and Craig Hobar (tag) led a team of 11 doctors who specialized in head and neck reconstruction, craniofacial surgeries and orthodontics, neurosurgery, urology and dermatology.  Local logistics were organized by CMA UA (tag ) to make doctors feel at home in the Ukrainian city of Lviv.

LEAP surgeons collaborated with Ukrainian surgeons in treating complicated craniofacial cases. “Our team worked with incredibly capable, professional, respectable Ukrainian surgeons. LEAP’s mission was to expose them to new surgical techniques, and LEAP was  excited to assist with this cooperative relationship,” commented LEAP Media Director Jon Cermin, who documented the trip.

The medical team provided treatment for  babies and children with birth defects, tumors of both children and adults in the head and neck area, traumas and scar revisions caused by shelling, from burns and other traumatic events. Two of the surgeries performed during the trip were complex maxillary midface advancement surgeries with computer planning, led by Dr. Craig Hobar, the Founder and Medical Director of LEAP Global Missions. The surgeries are expected to have a significant impact on the two young men’s  quality of life, including how they function, eat, and even smile. Having exposure to this surgical procedure will change how these cases can be managed in the future in Ukraine. 

The team included Ukrainian-American doctors, Dr. Victor Cherkasij (tag), Skin Cancer and Cosmetic Dermatology PC. Dr. Cherkasij not only treated difficult dermatological cases but also translated for his colleagues. He believes one week is not enough and plans to return for two or three weeks. 

“Since the war started, I’ve been watching the war trying to understand and I was seeing the horrors of the war and I always felt I wanted to help Ukraine. I’m very happy I have something to offer, and we hope we will do it again.”  – said James Suen(tag), MD, from University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.

Photo: Dr. James Suen, Facial Plastic Surgery Otolaryngologist, Little Rock, Arkansas,  Victor Cherkasij, PA, Dermatology from Cleveland, Tennessee and Dr. Christina Pohranychna,  Okhmadyt Lviv Regional Children’s Hospital, Ukraine

The educational and training component of medical visits is the most important part that helps to establish a sustainable professional health care system in Ukraine. 

Dr. Cheryl Anderson-Cermin (tag), craniofacial orthodontist, gave lectures to dental students, as well as the orthodontic residents from the Orthodontic Department of the Dental School in Lviv in regards to management of the infant, adolescent and adult individual with cleft lip and palate

Photo: Dr. Cheryl Anderson-Cermin, DDS, Craniofacial Orthodontics giving lecture to Ukrainian students in the the Orthodontic Department of the Dental School in Lviv

Dr. Anderson-Cermin outlined that the goals in this partnership are to bring additional expertise in these areas as the orthodontist on the team walks the child and the family through the process of the initial diagnosis, to the end of the growing years. The importance of  psychological support for these families is also stressed, and the orthodontist has a significant role to play in this regard. Supplies were presented to the Orthodontic department to allow them to properly evaluate and treat future individuals. 

It is worth mentioning that the urgent need for such complex surgeries in Ukraine is more significant than ever before. Thus, medical trips like this one are crucial for the treatment of patients who are in need. As these trips not only provide medical treatment, but more importantly, allow transfer of knowledge and skills to Ukrainian medical professionals.

 Thank you to LEAP Global Missions US TEAM for their support of Ukraine:

  • Craig Hobar, MD, Craniofacial/Plastics
  • Steve Orten, MD, Facial Plastic Surgeon 
  • Setty Pradeep, MD, Neurosurgery/Spine
  • Suen James, MD, Facial Plastic Surgery/H&N
  • Mark Hnatiuk, MD, Craniofacial/Plastics
  • Roman Bukachevsky, MD, ENT/Facial Plastics
  • Cheryl Cermin, DDS, Craniofacial Orthodontics
  • Victor Cherkasij, PA, Dermatology
  • Clanton Harrison, MD, Pediatric Urology
  • Jon Cermin, Photo/Video
  • Tatyana Bessmertnaya, Photo/Video/Translation

From Left: Rudy Myhovych, Christian Medical Assoc. Of Ukraine, Dr. Mark Hnatiuk, Dr. Pradeep Setty, Dr. Roman Bukachevsky, Dr. James Suen, Dr. Steve Orten, Dr. Clanton Harrison.

Leap Global Missions group: 
In-front: Tatyana Bessmertnaya and Dr. Craig Hobar
In the back from left to right: Dr. Cheryl Anderson-Cermin, Dr. James Suen, Dr. Mark Hnatiuk, Dr. Steve Orten, Dr. Victor Czerkasij, Dr. Roman Bukachevsky, Dr. Pradeep Setty. Not pictured, Dr. Clanton Harrison

Cover photo: Photo: Dr. Craig Hobar assists Ukrainian surgeons Christina Pohranychna and Dr. Roman Ogonovsky, Ohkhmadyt Lviv Regional Children’s Hospital

Learn more about Co-Pilot project and missions.

By Yulia Shama

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