Dr. CJ Langevin (pictured left) is a double board-certified plastic and reconstructive surgeon who practices alongside LEAP Founder Dr. Craig Hobar and Dr. Jeffrey Cone (pictured right), who led the recent Haiti mission. In between surgeries during the Haiti mission, Dr. Langevin shared how his mission travel experiences have impacted him.
Why did you choose to volunteer with LEAP?
Dr. Hobar was my mentor during my fellowship. He has had a strong influence on me. I have such a high opinion of him and value his passion and vision for LEAP. In 2010, the devastating earthquake rocked Haiti. Dr. Hobar, myself and a team came here only a few days after the quake. This was my first trip to Haiti. The need was overwhelming. It was such a unique, powerful experience that taught me many life lessons. I was hooked.
How is it different from your everyday practice?
It gives me a chance to appreciate the difficulties in terms of getting healthcare in different countries verses the United States. It really allows you to reset your mind frame to know why you are a doctor and gives you an appreciation of what you have in the United States.
Was there a particular patient experience that especially moved you?
There are so many it’s hard to choose just one or two. All the cleft patients are unique in the sense that we are making an immediate impact on their lives. Since LEAP returns to the same location year after year, we are able to work in stages on complicated cases and follow up with the same families year after year. This creates a real bond with the family. This is what makes LEAP a really special organization.
What is it like working with the team?
The LEAP team is remarkable. On all of the trips that I have made, it is a group of people that are very dedicated with a strong altruistic mind working towards a common goal. We are very unified. It is very refreshing to see and experience.
What part of the experience will stick with you the most?
It is everything that we are able to accomplish. We are a small group that comes in and makes a dramatic impact. The families are very appreciative, and we all feel a sense of humble pride in the work we do.
What drives you to share your gifts in this way?
All of us are driven with the spiritual aspect of our faith in mind. My parents taught me to think about others before myself and to understand that we are very privileged to live in a very developed country. We have a responsibility to share our gifts. I’m teaching my children the same lessons. Hopefully, someday, I will be able to bring my kids on a mission trip so that they can appreciate what they have at home.