New York, NY — Smile Train partner surgeons Dr. Lisa Hasibuan and Dr. Ataklitie Berhea recently received scholarships to travel to the United States for advanced training in Interdisciplinary cleft care. The award was sponsored through a collaboration of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, The Plastic Surgery Foundation, and Smile Train.

Advancing interdisciplinary, comprehensive cleft care.

Smile Train is dedicated to providing the highest quality cleft care to our patients of the same level found in developed countries. With that in mind, we are happy to announce that partner surgeons Dr. Lisa Hasibuan and Dr. Ataklitie Baraki Berhea have begun their advanced training through the ASPS/PSF/Smile Train International Scholarship Program. The advanced interdisciplinary training that they receive will help our Smile Train partner surgeons implement similar approaches and greatly enhance the cleft care that they provide.

Watch Dr. Hasibuan on Smile Train and her scholarship.

Dr. Lisa Hasibuan


"I hope to improve my skills and to expand to other areas that could also benefit my cleft patients. In addition to building my technical skills, I would also like to learn how I can build a strong and integrated cleft team."

Dr. Hasibuan has been a Smile Train surgeon since 2006. She has worked with four Smile Train partners (Jalinan Kasih, Obor Berkat, Bandung Cleft Lip and Palate Center, and Yayasan Mlatti) at 12 hospitals throughout Indonesia.

During her time as a Smile Train surgeon, Dr. Hasibuan has performed 310 free, high-quality surgeries for needy cleft patients.

As an ASPS/PSF/Smile Train International Scholar Dr. Hasibuan will spend the next few weeks learning advanced cleft surgical techniques as well as interdisciplinary cleft care. She is working with a cleft team from Johns Hopkins in Baltimore and has joined another team at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas for the second half of her training.

Be sure to check out the Smile Train blog for an update from Dr. Hasibuan.

WatchDr. Ataklitie on Smile Train and his scholarship.

Dr. Ataklitie Baraki Berhea, Ethiopia


"I hope to improve my personal performance as a surgeon and also be exposed to and learn new procedures. I am looking forward to have an opportunity for a cultural exchange between the two hemispheres. As an assistant professor at Addis Ababa University, I have the unique opportunity to share my experiences and transfer my new knowledge to my students.“

Dr. Ataklitie became a Smile Train surgeon in 2007. Although based in Ethiopia, Dr. Ataklitie has traveled to seven other countries throughout Eastern and Central Africa with AMREF (Africa Medical and Research Foundation) to perform cleft surgeries. In his native Ethiopia, Dr. Ataklitie regularly travels to five hospitals in various parts of the country. Thanks to the tireless work of this Smile Train surgeon, Ethiopia has been able to provide more surgeries than the estimated annual cleft births for each year since 2009. During his time as a Smile Train surgeon, Dr. Ataklitie has performed over 2,500 free, high-quality surgeries for needy cleft patients.

As one of only eight plastic surgeons in Ethiopia, Dr. Ataklitie works alongside the seven others, all of whom attended medical school together. Dr. Ataklitie credits Smile Train for allowing this group to go from treating 150 cleft patients a year to now providing over 3,000 free cleft surgeries annually.

Dr. Ataklitie began studying at New York University with Dr. Joseph McCarthy, a former member of Smile Train's Medical Advisory Board and has since traveled to the University of Washington in Seattle.

He attended our World Smile Day® celebration and was able to meet some of our great student fundraisers.

Real Stories. Real Heroes.

Comprehensive Cleft Care in Honduras

Tegucigalpa, Honduras – Comprehensive cleft care addresses every aspect of the life-long care required by children born with cleft lips and/or palates, dramatically improving their physical and psychological health and providing them the best chances to live full, productive lives.

You Don’t Have to Hide Your Love Away

Tegucigalpa, Honduras – Keren is a two and a half year-old who was born with a unilateral cleft lip. Her family had never heard of cleft lips or palates prior to her birth.

Theresia Gets a New Smile After 73 Years

Rutare, Rwanda – 73-year-old Theresia is an inspiration to her whole community. She recently had the courage to have free cleft surgery, having lived with an unrepaired cleft lip her entire life. Friends and family agree that the results are life-changing, and her new smile hardly leaves her face.

Journey of Smiles: Guatemala

Guatemala – Smile Train and Kaplan, the world leader in test prep, partnered together and provided four pre-health students a once in a lifetime experience. These students, pursuing careers in medicine and dentistry, were given the opportunity to visit local Smile Train partners and patients in Guatemala.

Journey of Smiles: Myanmar

Kachin, Myanmar – Follow Smile Train to one of the most isolated countries in the world as a new Smile Train partner hospital performs its first cleft surgeries.

Journey of Smiles: Egypt

Egypt – Documenting the best of cleft care in Egypt, Smile Train supporter Stefano Levi traveled to Egypt and returned with this photo update, capturing Smile Train’s dedicated partners and grateful patients.

Smile Train Russia: Photo Stories

Volgograd, Russia – Take a peek inside Smile Train partner hospital, Volgograd City Hospital #1 through these captivating photos. With over 20 years of experience, maxillofacial surgeon Dr. Irena Fomenko, has been instrumental in changing the lives of the Smile Train patients she helps, including Kirill, Stella, and Valentina.

Fly My Dream

Changsha, China – Smile Train patient He Yumei describes her determination during Smile Train-sponsored speech therapy treatment, provided for free by Smile Train. She was born with cleft lip and palate, which were repaired, but needed further help correcting her speech.

Baby Robson's Journey Of Smiles

Lilongwe, Malawi – Follow the journey of baby Robson and his parents as they travel to the city for the first time to receive Robson’s Smile Train surgery. This tale is told through the lens of Dr. Robin Wyatt’s camera, as he photographs the family from start to finish.

Hope, Dedication, Promise

Sulawesi, Indonesia – Follow a Smile Train favorite, Natsir, as he travels throughout the island of Sulawesi searching for cleft patients.

Surgeries and Smiles In Ghana

Kumasi, GhanaKatelyn Edwards, a student at the University of Tampa, recently traveled to Ghana to visit Smile Train partner hospital Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital. Thanks to the generosity of Katelyn's community, she was also able to donate over $4,000 to the hospital’s Smile Train program

A Song In Her Heart

Mixquiahuala, Mexico – Smile Train patient Monserrat has overcome a lot in her young life, and has turned adversity into strength.

Mili's Second Chance

Kota, India – Mili's adoptive mother shares her story.

In Cameroon, the Surgeries Are the Easy Part

Douala, Cameroon – Program Manager Amber Webb writes about her experience to help expand best practices in patient outreach.

The Butterfly Effect: Natsir's Mission

Sulawesi, Indonesia – Natsir's simple act of kindness to a stranger resulted in his sons' free cleft surgeries. Now he volunteers his time to find other children with cleft.

Smile Pinki Update

Varanasi, India – In 2007, Pinki was a frightened little girl in need of free cleft repair surgery. Today, she is confident and loves to show off her smile.

A Smile Years In the Making

Xi'an, China – For some people, four years is a short period of time. For a surgeon, four years is the amount of time spent in medical school. For Smile Train, four years is just shy of a third of our existence. However, for a child with a cleft, four years can change his fate. Four years moved Hua Tai'an and his family from sadness and helplessness to happiness and hope.

A Smile At the Roof Of the World

Tibet, China – Soaring more than 4,500 meters above sea level in the highest region on earth, an incredibly brave little boy and his family received a modern-day miracle.

A Fresh Start for Taslia

Dhaka, Bangladesh – Khondoker and his wife Tasmin eagerly expected the birth of their third child, but were shocked when she was born with a cleft lip and palate and was diagnosed with dwarfism.

The Longest Journey

Veracruz, Mexico – Pedro and Griselda traveled with their children over 500km in 1 1/2 months to fix their son's cleft lip.

Alayna's Smile

Dover, Delaware – Smile Train supporter Kateri Lambrose shares the story of how she adopted her daughter Alayna, a former Smile Train patient.