Dr. Cermin has been involved with L.E.A.P. Global Missions as a founding Board member for almost 30 years, from the start of her orthodontic career. Caring for individuals with facial differences such as cleft lip and palate has been a passion of Dr. Cermin’s throughout her career, both in the United States and across the globe.
With L.E.A.P., Dr. Cermin has visited countries such as the Dominican Republic, Belize, India, Zimbabwe, and Kosova. Due to the lack of understanding by local communities, individuals with facial differences are often shunned and treated as outcasts. Their families have no resources to pay for the surgical procedures needed to fix these conditions, waiting lists for government assistance are long, and there are often no trained professionals to provide the care they need. This leaves parents desperate for a solution to their child’s condition. Through the dedication and commitment of highly skilled L.E.A.P. volunteers – all top experts in their fields – those less fortunate can be restored to a life that allows them to be accepted by their community and empowered to live a full life.
L.E.A.P. began with the intent of making one trip to the Dominican Republic to bring surgery access to children with a cleft of the lip or palate. That first trip evolved into a fully functioning foundation based in Dallas, TX that has provided surgical care to individuals in 22 countries and has performed over 9,520 surgeries since its inception – all at no cost to the children’s families.