CSI has a rich history of service, and we continue to put effort into improving and expanding our organization year after year
Children’s Surgery International, formerly the Minnesota Chapter of Operation Smile, was the first Minnesota based 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to providing free surgical repair for children in developing countries who suffer from facial deformities. In the early 1990's, Sue Schacht and Mary Alice Seipp read an article in an airline magazine about Operation Smile and decided to bring the mission to Minnesota. With the backing of WCCO, General Mills and Campbell Mithun, the Minnesota Chapter of Operation Smile was established and organized their first mission to Barinas, Venezuela in September 1993. Successive mission sites included Morocco, Gaza, West Bank, North Viet Nam, Kenya and Guerro, Mexico.
In November 2001, the board decided to branch out from Operation Smile, and Children’s Surgery International was established. The main reason was the desire to expand the scope of the missions to include orthopedics, urology, pediatric surgery and ENT surgery, in addition to plastic surgery. While our primary focus continues to be cleft lip and cleft palate, we provide services to children with multiple medical problems.
CSI has sent missions to Arequipa and Chiclayo in Peru, Kumasi in Ghana, Guerro and Hermosillo in Mexico, Phebe Hospital and Firestone Duside Hospital in Liberia, and HAS, Deschappelle, and St. Damien's Children's Hospital in Haiti. CSI is always looking to expand its international reach, and are regularly evaluating new areas of the world for future missions.
Our teams are comprised of professionals who practice and specialize in the treatments stateside that they perform on our missions. While it is not a training mission for our doctors, we make a point to teach local providers what we do and how we do it so they may become self sufficient in treating their countries children in the future.
CSI has had a robust youth program for many years. The youth both raise money for and participate in missions. Those who get the opportunity to participate are chaperoned by a youth leader and get to see first-hand the impact CSI has on individual children’s lives. Participants return with a new perspective on the world, and many return with altered career goals.