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Chief of Pediatric Surgery Promotes Global Education Among Pacific Association of Pediatric Surgeons
Dr. Cynthia Reyes, Nemours Children Hospital’s Division Chief of Pediatric Surgery and Surgical Director of Quality, is bringing a unique perspective to the Nemours community. Dr. Reyes has been an active member of the Pacific Association of Pediatric Surgeons (PAPS) for more than 20 years, which supports the growth of pediatric surgery around the world, with a focus on the countries of the Pacific Rim.
Every year, PAPS hosts a five-day conference where members exchange information and insight about the latest pediatric surgical research and results, new procedures and techniques, patient clinical management, and the opportunity for networking and engaging discussion. This year’s conference will be held in Sapporo, Japan in May and Dr. Reyes will be a featured speaker.
Dr. Reyes, who was the first Hispanic female to be trained in pediatric surgery in the U.S., served for 10 years as President of the PAPS Global Alliance Program (GAP), which was established to expose young pediatric surgeons in developing countries to the current science and art of pediatric surgery. GAP actively engages these young surgeons, providing a unique opportunity of scientific exchange and mentorship.
"It is such exciting work," said Reyes of her time in the role and her continuing involvement with PAPS. "I have meet pediatric surgeons from all over the world who work in very challenging conditions. Many of these surgeons do not have access to fluids. Some of them have a limited supply of sterile gloves, so they need to re-wash them. They just don’t have access to the material resources that they need," according to Reyes.
Formed 50 years ago by a small group of surgeons from the U.S., Japan, China, Australia, and Canada, PAPS’s mission is to help pediatric surgeons in developing countries, while delivering a message of global communication and inclusivity within the pediatric surgery community. Today, PAPS has blossomed to a membership of 530 surgeons residing in 23 countries.
Each year a GAP fellow is selected to attend the annual PAPS conference and is invited to stay an additional week for an externship at the children’s hospital in the community hosting the conference. Over the years, there have been 30 GAP fellows, and both the fellows and the hosting surgeons have found the externship to be incredibly valuable.
PAPS stays faithful to its dream of diversity, inclusivity, and social responsibility. The organization supports the growth of pediatric surgery around the world. Dr. Reyes hopes to have Orlando host an upcoming annual conference, with Nemours Children’s Hospital as the backdrop for the GAP Fellow externship.
"I’m proud of this work," said Reyes. "PAPS members and the GAP Fellows really embrace one another. We embrace our differences: not only our cultural differences, but in the way we practice. It benefits the communities we live in, as well as the communities we serve."