Thomas L. Roberts
Professional Service… From the professional standpoint, I have developed 3-4 new concepts and surgical procedures in plastic surgery and have now been asked to speak and demonstrate these surgical procedures all over the United States and in 34 countries on 6 continents. This has permitted me to bring a higher level of plastic surgical care to residents in the Upstate than has ever been available before. (I have also been asked by our national society to teach courses on the laser, micro fat and other grafting techniques I helped to develop.) I served as its director for the first 12 years, and it continues to be one of the more active teams in the State. I was asked to serve as the State Chairman of the Medical Advisory committee for the SC Children’s Rehabilitative Services (cleft lip, palate, etc.) from 1988-1992 and have been elected to serve in every office in the SC Society of Plastic Surgeons, including 2 terms as president. In 1980, I founded the first new cleft lip and palate team in South Carolina in over 30 years. Community Service… In 1994, I organized and carried out the first medical mission trip to the Dominican Republic and every year since then expect for the year my two kids got married and I had to have knee surgery. I still help organize one of the two medical teams to the DR, which includes 30-40 people – surgeons, orthopedists, gynecologists, urologists, nurses, nursing/pre-med and medical students, as well as general helpers. Typically, on these medical mission trips we will perform 30-60 major surgical procedures, which really change these folks’ lives, as there is no other specialized care available. We even see adults with cleft lip and palate who are considered the village freaks and shunned; but we help them begin the transition to an adult with dignity and the palate surgery can give them relatively normal speech, where they had been almost unintelligible previously. These are very rewarding times and my family and I have gained just more than we have given.