In 2003, Dr. Vito Quatela, Rochester based facial plastic surgery specialist, founded The HUGS Foundation, Inc. (Help Us Give Smiles) with a simple goal in mind. He wanted to change the lives of children using a team of skilled surgeons to correct congenital facial deformities. His compassion for others, especially children, is demonstrated as he goes on multiple medical missions each year. These children have been deprived of a healthy and joyful life due to their congenital deformity and lack of medical care. Were it not for the gift of surgery, these children would be rejected by their peers, community, and sometimes even their own families. The surgery not only enables one to have an enhancement in their appearance and function, but they are now afforded opportunities they would not have otherwise, such as assimilation into a family, a chance for a better education, and hope for a new life.
Dr. Quatela’s philosophy that “every human being has a fundamental right to the opportunity to grow and develop socially and intellectually without being ostracized or rejected due to physical abnormality” has led him to head the multi-specialty team of experts that provide free medical care to children and adolescents suffering from deformity or conditions that are remedied or alleviated through surgery.
This mission is performed in underdeveloped countries including Vietnam, Guatemala and Ecuador. Since inception in 2003, our medical mission teams have gone on 18 mission trips and have performed over 900 surgical procedures. These teams consist of world class doctors, nurses and volunteers. The volunteers dedicate their time, knowledge and passion to help change children’s lives.
The HUGS Foundation was recently featured in Dr. Oz’s The Good Life magazine. Click here to read the article.