Operation Rainbow Medical Missions

Left uncorrected, congenital birth defects and serious injury can condemn children to a life of physical and emotional pain, social deprivation, and hardship.

With poverty directly related to birth defects and treatment most inaccessible to the indigent, the problem is especially acute in developing countries. The only possibility for poor families is government-run hospitals, many of which have few resources and are chronically understaffed. At these facilities, each patient must buy all the materials needed for his or her surgery and, as orthopedic materials are expensive, problems often do not get repaired.

For children living in physical pain, Operation Rainbow medical missions are the proverbial pot of gold that dramatically enriches their lives. Each trip is a 100% working mission, with our all volunteer medical teams working nearly round-the-clock for the visit’s five-day duration. During that time, 40-60 surgeries are performed, as well as 200-300 non-surgical interventions.

Along with changing the lives of hundreds of children per mission, the team also helps educate physicians, nursing staff, and technicians in developing countries toward self-sufficiency. Teams attempt to return to the same hospitals each year to promote continuity of training and to advocate for a philosophy of care that addresses the needs of indigent children and their families.

Recent missions focused on rural Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Ecuador, Peru, and the Philippines.

Medical Team Volunteers

“Caring for children in the developing world has provided me with some of the finest experiences of my life. I have worked with many volunteer organizations, but none more effective than Operation Rainbow.”

-Volunteer Surgeon

Volunteers are the very heart of Operation Rainbow’s work. Whether traveling to rural communities in developing countries, or earthquake-ravaged parts of the planet, the medical teams that volunteer their time and expertise to Operation Rainbow missions possess undaunted dedication, facing some of the harshest environments and obstacles to achieve their goals.

Mission teams of between 18 and 30 members consisting of surgeons, pediatricians, nurses, anesthesiologists, technicians, and others from hospitals and medical clinics from throughout the U.S. participate. Six Operation Rainbow team leaders, all prominent surgeons originating from cities in California, Maryland, and Florida, recruit additional clinical personnel for future missions.

Our volunteers are proud ambassadors of good will, not only to the patients themselves, but also to their families, communities, and homelands. Volunteers are eager to return again and again to provide life-changing surgeries for the children, each trip transforming into a labor of love. Despite facing extremely harsh and stressful conditions, most volunteers embark on a mission at least once a year; 70% of them opt for additional missions.

For information on volunteering for an Operation Rainbow mission, please contact Michelle Duncan, Executive Director, at michelle@operationrainbow.org.