For more than two decades, World Pediatric Project has been helping children in the Caribbean and Central America receive life-changing care. Created in 2001, the nonprofit organizes teams of medical professionals to deliver much-needed pediatric surgical care in its partner countries, and the most complex cases are brought to St. Louis and other cities for life-saving surgeries. Through its efforts, more than 18,000 children have been helped. “World Pediatric Project has done an amazing job at providing care to children without access to health care,” says Dr. Charles Goldfarb, a hand and wrist surgeon who has worked with the nonprofit since its inception.
World Pediatric Project was founded from the merger of two separate nonprofits doing similar work, one right here in St. Louis and the other in Richmond, Virginia. Goldfarb, who also serves as chair of World Pediatric Project’s St. Louis board, was originally involved with its local predecessor. “The organization has evolved over the years, but the commitment to providing specialty care to underserved regions has remained constant,” he notes. “I’ve witnessed World Pediatric Project’s impact firsthand, watching kids who were in dire circumstances be able to pivot and thrive thanks to the services provided.”
Along with organizing trips with St. Louis medical professionals and bringing children to the U.S. for care, World Pediatric Project also is dedicated to improving health care in its partner countries. This includes training initiatives for local medical providers, coordinating care between countries to reduce the need for travel and using technology to offer remote consultations. “I love that World Pediatric Project is dedicated to working in the countries to build expertise and knowledge,” board vice chair Mary Pat Brown says. “We’re leaving things better than we found them and perpetuating a brighter future for kids in the region. The ripple effect is huge.”
The support of the St. Louis community makes the World Pediatric Project’s mission possible. It relies on local medical experts and surgeons to share their knowledge and skills as well as the support of individuals and community partners. “I am always so impressed with the doctors and medical staff who are willing to use their time and talent to help these children,” Brown says. “It’s indicative of the community as a whole—people really want to give back.” Goldfarb adds, “We have remarkable access to world class health resources here, but unfortunately, it is not available everywhere. St. Louisans know that providing critical care can change the course of a child’s life.”
A large portion of World Pediatric Project’s programs are funded through its annual Treasures in Paradise cocktail party. For 2024, the event will be held Jan. 26 at a new location, Olive + Oak. Guests can look forward to a Caribbean winter festival, featuring a custom menu from the restaurant, fine wine, entertainment and an exciting auction. “It’s a really fun event, and getting to hear from the kids we’ve helped and their families makes it extra special,” Brown says. “I feel very privileged to work with such a great organization and am proud to be part of a community that is willing to offer so much generous support.”
World Pediatric Project helps heal children and advance pediatric health care throughout the world. Its annual Treasures in Paradise cocktail party is Jan. 26 at Olive + Oak. Pictured on the cover: World Pediatric Project patients Malia (British Virigin Islands), Shaniah (St. Vincent), Shania (St. Lucia), Keiron (Dominica), Karrie (Barbados). For more information, call 314.317.8809 or visit worldpediatricproject.org.
Cover design by Julie Streiler
Cover photo by Colin Miller of Strauss Peyton Photography
Pictured at top: The teams of orthopedic surgeons Dr. Charles Goldfarb and Dr. Eric Gordan host a clinic in Barbados.
Photo courtesy of World Pediatric Project