For the past 13 years, HWS Trustee Dr. Robert Gilman ’70 has traveled to South America, working to heal and aid children in need with Healing the Children and the Smile Train. Annually, Gilman and his team of plastic surgeons, anesthesiologists, pediatricians, nurses, technicians and personnel perform an astounding 45-60 operations over the course of nine days. To this day, his team has completed nearly 600 operations. On Thursday, April 14, Gilman will return to campus as an Engaged Citizenship Speaker through the Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning to talk about his outreach efforts at 8 p.m. in the Seneca Room.
Working with very limited resources in Cartagena, Colombia, Gilman and his team of volunteers largely work to repair cleft lips and palates. However, procedures also involve reconstructive surgery for children with congenital, traumatic and disease related deformities of the face, hands, extremities and body including major burn reconstruction. Gilman returns to Colombia each year, providing continual care to patients and nurturing the relationship he and his team have with local surgeons and pediatricians.
“I hope to convey the importance of volunteerism both in principle and in reality,” says Gilman of his upcoming talk. “Those of us in the Hobart and William Smith Community have been blessed with opportunities that most of the world’s population can hardly imagine. The nurturing of a desire to convert some of our privilege into action through volunteerism should be a part of our HWS community goals. I hope to nourish this concept by presenting my experience in volunteerism to the HWS community.”
Gilman is a Clinical Instructor in Plastic Surgery in the Harvard Plastic Surgery Residency program and is also a part of the faculty at Harvard Medical School. In addition, Gilman has a private practice, Plastic Surgery Specialists, Inc. He graduated from Hobart College in 1970 with a bachelor of arts in biology. After graduating from Hobart, Gilman went on to receive graduate degrees from Boston University: his Doctor of Medicine degree in 1974 from the School of Medicine, and his Doctor of Dental Medicine from the School of Dentistry in 1977. Gilman has remained a loyal supporter of Hobart, serving as a member and past president of Hobart College Alumni Association for many years and joined the Board of Trustees in July 2010.