Kids First was founded in the early 1990s, by three Duke University-trained orthopedic surgeons. The three saw a need for pediatric orthopedic outreach in South and Central America and through connections and friendships, launched the inaugural trip in 1991.
While the make up of the team varies somewhat from trip to trip, the typical structure is three orthopedic surgeons, one orthopedic resident, a five member anesthesia team consisting of anesthesiologists and nurse anethetists, fourteen nurses, and one hand therapist. Occasionally a team member misses a single trip, but the group has remained largely intact, has grown quite close over the past 19 years, and works very efficiently.
Without the umbrella of a large organization, the group has appreciated greater flexibility. Each country poses its own unique set of issues, and the team’s increased flexibility has enabled Kids First to work efficiently with city and state governments, border control, and airlines to ensure the trips are a success.
Virtually all of the supplies are donated by US hospitals and medical companies then transported to the site country. Mexico has been especially convenient as the supplies are able to be driven across the border, rather than transported by air. Shipping equipment to other countries was significantly more expensive. Please see the How to Help tab to learn how you can make a difference in the lives of children!