Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland Coláiste Ríoga na Máinleá in Éirinn

RCSI Medical Student Speaks About Operation Smile Mission to Nairobi

02 September 2009

A final year medical student at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) today addressed a number of leading medical professionals on his ‘Operation Smile’ mission in Nairobi, Kenya. Knut Moe, was the first recipient of the inaugural Operation Smile Ireland Medical Student Fellowship, sponsored by Johnson & Johnson Medical.


Pictured from l to r are Mr. Eunan Friel, MD, of Johnson & Johnson Medical; Mr. Michael Earley, Irish Chairman of Operation Smile and Council member at RCSI; Mr. Knut Moe, final year Medical student and recipient of the first Operation Smile Ireland Medical Student Scholarship, sponsored by Johnson & Johnson Medical and Professor Frank Keane, President of RCSI.

Operation Smile is a non-profit volunteer medical service organisation that facilitates and organises medical missions to provide safe sustainable treatment for children with facial deformities in the developing world. The Operation Smile Student Fellowship was established in order to provide medical students with an opportunity to participate in international medical missions and to expand their understanding of and dedication to the humanitarian nature of the medical services field. The missions last an average of 10 to 12 days depending on the country concerned.


Pictured are Mr. Knut Moe and Professor Frank Keane, President of RCSI.

Mr. Michael Earley, Irish Chairman of Operation Smile and Council member at RCSI, said “The introduction of this Fellowship provides an invaluable experience for medical students that will be carried with them throughout their lifetime. It will encourage their humanitarian commitment to children with facial deformities in the developing world while also helping to attract medical volunteers to Operation Smile Ireland in years to come.”



Pictured from l from r Eunan Friel, MD, of Johnson & Johnson Medical; Mr. Knut Moe, final year medical student, RCSI; Mr. Micheal Earley, Irish Chairman of Operation Smile and Council member at RCSI.

Mr Eunan Friel, MD, of Johnson & Johnson Medical said “Johnson & Johnson Medical has been a strong supporter of Operation Smile’s global commitment to changing the lives of children and young adults since 1982 and in that time has contributed over $ 6 million in medical supplies. I am delighted to be given the opportunity to support this initiative and I hope that through our continued support, initiatives such as this not only raise much needed funds but help spread awareness of the vital work Operation Smile does globally.”


Mr. Knut Moe, who was the recipient of the inaugural Operation Smile Ireland Medical Student Fellowship, sponsored by Johnson & Johnson Medical.

Commenting on his experience, RCSI medical student Knut Moe said “Our mission to Nairobi saw almost 200 patients screened and 100 surgical procedures performed on patients, some of who had travelled for four days to see us and would not otherwise be able to afford the surgery. As a medical student, the experience of working with such a diverse group of people, all of whom are considered some of the best in their field, was one that I am most fortunate to have been a part of.”


Pictured are Ms. Susan O'Grady, Operation Smile and Mr. David Orr, Plastic Surgeon and Operation Smile.

He continued “I am most grateful to all those who have made this Fellowship possible, including Operation Smile Ireland, RCSI and Johnson & Johnson. My experience during the mission will no doubt stay with me throughout my career and, once qualified, I would jump at the chance to be an Operation Smile volunteer in the future.” 


Pictured with Mr. Knut Moe are his father Dr. Knut H. Moe (class of 1971 at RCSI) and his mother Helen.

Established in 2003, Operation Smile Ireland is a non government organisation and is a part of a global alliance of Operation Smile foundations, which is dedicated to providing free reconstructive surgery and ongoing care to children and young adults suffering from cleft lips and cleft palates.


Pictured from l to r are Mr. Eunan Friel, MD, Johnson & Johnson; Mr. Michael Earley, Chairman of Operation Smile and RCSI Council Member; Ms. Susan O'Grady, Operation Smile; Mr. Knut Moe, final year medical student, RCSI; Dr. Alice McGarvey, Vice-Dean, Student Affairs, RCSI; Professor Frank Keane, President, RCSI and Professor Cathal Kelly, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, RCSI.




In addition to contributing free medical treatment for children born with facial deformities, a committed group of surgeons, anaesthetists and paediatricians from Ireland provide a vital opportunity to train local surgeons’ reconstructive surgical procedures, as well as educating local staff on the safe administration of anaesthetics. Since its inception in 2003, it has touched the lives of thousands of children and young adults across the globe, thanks to a very dedicated group of volunteers and sponsors.