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Charity Work

A commitment to





5 million children worldwide don’t have access to surgery. Dr. Yao believes strongly that all children deserve safe surgical care, and has devoted a large portion of her career to helping the underserved access cleft lip care.  

Working with Operation Smile, Dr. Yao is the director of research and patient metrics. She designed several major projects to improve global healthcare delivery in Lower and Middle Income countries.   

Dr. Yao has been to Madagascar, Morocco, Vietnam, Boliva, China, Peru, India to help bring cleft care to those who need it.   She is involved with educating local surgeons, and helping community workers identify barriers to care that many people face in these countries.

She created a data collection system for all of Operation Smile’s partner countries so that community health workers can better understand barriers to healthcare, and factors that lead to better surgical outcomes.  

Dr. Yao also created a grading system for disease severity in cleft lip children that won first prize at the American Association of Plastic Surgery.