Shelly Batra has been seeing patients at Banner Thunderbird Medical Center, 5555 W. Thunderbird Road, Glendale, since 2009 where she serves as a Pediatric Hospitalist and the Lead Physician/Director for the Peds Hospitalist Team.
In addition to the work she does in her community, Batra also volunteers with the global nonprofit Operation Smile.
“A very dear friend of mine introduced me to Operation Smile when I was going through a rough time in my life,” Batra explained. “She felt that the program would be a good fit for me and vice versa. She was right.”
Since then, Batra has participated on 11 medical missions with Operation Smile in the Philippines, Vietnam, Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Morocco, Ghana, Nicaragua and Madagascar. She hopes to attend several more.
“Honestly, what is there not to love about volunteering with this organization?,” she explained. “I love that the foundation is built on providing quality medical care to those that need it most. I love being part of a team of people that all have the same mission — take care of people, do it with love, and do it the best way you know how. I love the people that I get to meet, work with, and learn from, from other states and countries around the globe. I love meeting my beautiful patients on screening days. I love working hard doing what I love to do for the right reasons.”
People like Batra around the world are volunteering their time to help save lives, alleviate suffering and maintain and protect human dignity.
“My advice to someone thinking about doing volunteer work: Don’t think about it. Just do it. And don’t wait to do it later,” she said. “Do it now. You will never regret it.”
Operation Smile revolutionized cleft surgery globally in 1982. With nearly four decades of experience as one of the largest surgical volunteer-based nonprofits, Operation Smile staff, its private-public partnerships and thousands of volunteers have improved the health and dignity of patients with cleft conditions, helping them to better breathe, eat, speak and live lives of greater quality and confidence.
While one cleft surgery can bring immediate transformation to a child’s life in as little as 45 minutes, Operation Smile is committed to providing patients with health that lasts — being there to offer patients additional surgeries, dentistry, psychological services, speech therapy and other essential cleft treatments.
Learn more by visiting operationsmile.org.