Smile Train Appoints New Global Medical Advisory Board Member from NYU Langone

Smile Train Medical Advisory member Roberto Flores

Dr. Roberto Flores partners with the world's largest cleft organization to enhance virtual surgery training offerings worldwide.

NEW YORK - Smile Train, the world’s largest cleft organization, announced today the addition of Roberto L. Flores, MD, to its Global Medical Advisory Board. Dr. Flores, the Joseph G. McCarthy Associate Professor of Reconstructive Plastic Surgery at NYU Grossman School of Medicine and Director of Cleft Lip and Palate at NYU Langone Health, brings over 20 years of experience to the Global Medical Advisory Board, with expertise in reconstructive plastic surgery and surgical simulation education. 

Smile Train relies on its Global Medical Advisory Board to help ensure the safety and quality of all its comprehensive cleft treatment programs worldwide – which has become even more critical in the current medical landscape. The Board is led by world-renowned cleft and craniofacial surgeon, Dr. Larry Hollier, Jr., MD, FACS, Surgeon-in-Chief of the Texas Children’s Hospital and Chief of Plastic Surgery at Baylor College of Medicine, and is comprised of experts from a range of disciplines including plastic and maxillofacial surgery, pediatric anesthesia, genetics, orthodontics and speech therapy.

The importance of virtual simulation in surgical training – particularly over the last year as the pandemic has made traditional hands-on training impossible in many settings – is a passion area for Dr. Flores. As part of his new role, Smile Train is working with Dr. Flores on innovative strategies and technology to increase access to high-quality surgical training and improve surgical outcomes in low-resource and remote regions. Already, Smile Train and Dr. Flores have worked together, in partnership with BioDigital, to release the Smile Train Virtual Surgery Simulator. The new mobile app offers multilingual, interactive 3D training on surgical procedures with unprecedented offline accessibility. Access to virtual training without the need for a computer or wireless connection enables surgeons anywhere in the world to enhance their cleft surgical skills with nothing more than a smartphone.

“Dr. Flores will be instrumental in growing Smile Train’s global cleft treatment programs around the world,” said Dr. Hollier. “His expertise in virtual surgery simulation will be critical to Smile Train’s continued work of building higher-quality, more equitable educational opportunities for all.”

“We are pleased to welcome Dr. Flores to Smile Train’s family,” said Susannah Schaefer, Smile Train President & Chief Executive Officer. “As an international leader in cleft lip and palate, Dr. Flores has shown just how critical simulation technology is in enhancing the training of surgeons and improving the quality of surgical care, especially as we continue to see the ripple effects of the pandemic in our communities.”

Smile Train's sustainable model empowers local medical professionals with training, funding and resources to provide free cleft surgery and comprehensive cleft care to children globally. For the last 21 years, Smile Train has supported safe, high-quality cleft care for more than 1.5 million children and will continue to do so until every child in need born with a cleft has access to the care they deserve.

For more information on Smile Train's Medical Advisory Board, please visit To learn more about Smile Train's global efforts and to make a donation, please visit Follow Smile Train on Twitter and Instagram @SmileTrain and like us on Facebook at


About Smile Train
Smile Train empowers local medical professionals with training, funding, and resources to provide free cleft surgery and comprehensive cleft care to children globally. We advance a sustainable solution and scalable global health model for cleft treatment, drastically improving children's lives, including their ability to eat, breathe, speak, and ultimately thrive. To learn more about how Smile Train's sustainable approach means donations have both an immediate and long-term impact, please visit

About Dr. Roberto Flores
Roberto L. Flores, MD, is the Endowed Joseph G. McCarthy Associate Professor of Reconstructive Plastic Surgery, Director of Cleft Lip and Palate and the Craniofacial Surgery Fellowship Director in the Hansjörg Wyss Department of Plastic Surgery at NYU Langone Health. Dr. Flores is an internationally recognized leader in cleft lip and palate, Pierre Robin sequence and surgical simulation. He currently has over one million dollars in National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding to investigate bone tissue engineering solutions in the growing craniofacial skeleton. Through strategic partnerships between philanthropy, industry and medicine, he has led the development of three, freely available, web-based multimedia plastic surgery simulators, including the Smile Train Virtual Surgery Simulator, the most widely utilized surgical simulator for cleft lip and palate reconstruction with over 4000 users in over 140 countries.

Media Contacts
Nijha Diggs
Smile Train 

Stephanie Baber