Rochester Surgeon Volunteers to Treat Children in Siberia
Physician to Travel with Outreach Organization to Care for People with Facial Deformities
October 03, 2002
Teams of American medical professionals have traveled eight times in 10 years to a remote Siberian village to care for children and young adults with facial deformities. Joining their ninth trip will be Timothy D. Doerr, M.D., a facial and reconstructive surgeon in the Otolaryngology Department at Strong Memorial Hospital, who will depart October 5 for Yekaterinburg, Russia. Doerr will be part of a 15-member team from FACE to FACE International, an outreach program organized by the Educational and Research Foundation for the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. FACE to FACE teams work with medical personnel in remote locations to care for people and exchange information, knowledge and techniques in an effort to have a long-term impact on improving medical care in those areas. Surgeons who volunteer with FACE to FACE assist those who suffer from facial deformities caused by birth defects or trauma. “I’ve always wanted to make a trip like this and found this opportunity compelling,” Doerr says. “It’s personally important to have an opportunity to work, teach and learn in this environment, and to help people with real needs who might otherwise not get the care they require.” The team of surgeons and support staff will traveling to the Bonum Centre near Yekaterinburg, located about 1,000 miles northwest of Moscow. Bonum Center, which includes a hospital, school and camp, is a home to children and young adults with facial deformities, many of who have been abandoned by their families. Russian physicians at the Bonum Centre will set the schedule for the FACE to FACE team, which will include surgery and teaching. Doerr expects much of his surgical time will be spent doing cleft and nasal reconstruction. “It’s exciting but I am a bit nervous,” explains Doerr, who is making the trip at his own expense. “They’ve given me a list of items to bring – everyday things like warm clothes, water, toilet paper – and, though I have traveled overseas, this is probably the most remote location for me. My biggest concern is the language barrier and living and working in a culture where even the characters of the written language are unrecognizable to me,” he says. Knowing there are others in his group who’ve traveled to Yekaterinburg before brings a level of comfort. Doerr will leave Rochester on October 5 and travel to Frankfurt, Germany, where he’ll meet up with the FACE to FACE team. From Germany, they’ll travel to Yekaterinburg, and take a two-hour drive to the Bonum Center where they will work and live for 10 days. The trip, including layovers and ground transportation, is expected to take about 30 hours each way. “It will be hard to be away from my family for so long, and I don’t yet know if I’ll have access to e-mail or other ways in which I can keep in touch with them,” Doerr says. He plans to take a camera and plenty of film to record his experience to share with family, friends and colleagues when he returns to Rochester. An attending surgeon in the Division of Otolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery at Strong Memorial Hospital, Doerr arrived in Rochester two years ago. He also serves as an assistant professor in the Department of Surgery at the University of Rochester Medical Center. Doerr practices all aspects of facial plastic and reconstructive surgery with special interest in skin cancer reconstruction, rhinoplasty and nasal reconstruction, facial cosmetic procedures and trauma. He is certified by the American Board of Otolaryngology. An honors graduate of the University of Dayton, Doerr earned his medical degree at Wayne State University School of Medicine where he also completed a general surgery internship and otolaryngology residency. He served as a fellow in craniomaxillofacial – facial plastic and reconstructive surgery and a lecturer in the Department of Otolaryngology at the University of Michigan Medical Center before coming to Rochester. He also completed a National Institutes of Health Research Fellowship in Otolaryngology –Head and Neck surgery at Wayne state University in Detroit, where he was an assistant clinical professor. A resident of Pittsford, Doerr and his wife Patti have three children.