AMA Journal of Ethics®

Illuminating the art of medicine

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AMA Journal of Ethics®

Illuminating the art of medicine

Virtual Mentor. August 2000, Volume 2, Number 8.

Profile of a Role Model

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William P. Magee, Jr., DDS, MD,

William P. Magee, Jr., founder of an organization called Operation Smile, is honored for being an exemplary role model in medicine for providing free reconstructive facial surgery to indigent children and young adults throughout the world.

Operation Smile was born when Dr. Magee traveled to the Philippines with his wife in 1981. Although they treated 150 children with facial deformities, hundreds of others had to be turned away. "I couldn't bear looking at those faces and having to say I was sorry," Dr. Magee recalled. When the Magees returned to the United States, they raised money, recruited medical volunteers, and gathered surgical supplies. Since their first visit, they have returned to the Philippines again and again to bring smiles to countless children.

Today, Operation Smile serves dozens of sites, including Brazil, China, Colombia, Ecuador, Kenya, the Middle East, Russia, and Vietnam. Domestic medical programs have also been established in New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Nashville, Los Angeles, Newark, Baltimore, and Norfolk. Most recently, Dr. Magee has partnered with Charles B. Wang, CEO of Computer Associates International, Inc., to create the Smile Train. The 5-year goal of the program is to provide medical reconstructive surgery to more than 100,000 children in China.

For his exemplary dedication to the cause of helping poor children regain their smiles., we are proud to award the Virtual Mentor Award to Dr. William P. Magee, Jr.

We invite students to nominate a physician role model who, for them, has been an outstanding teacher by example. Students might, for example, describe in detail a single experience with a role model that was particularly meaningful to them, or describe a series of patient-related experiences with a role model that influenced their ethical development. In describing their experiences, we encourage students to examine why it was significant to them and how it may influence their professional behavior.

Each month, we will select profiles of role models to post in this space, and those selected will receive a gift of appreciation.

Nominations should include the following information:

1. Student's name, address, phone, e-mail, and medical school
2. Role model's name, title, and institution
3. Description of an experience (500-800 words)

Send your profiles to: Audiey Kao, MD, PhD, Institute for Ethics, AMA, 515 North State, Chicago, IL 60610

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