Patrick Byrne, M.D.
Now the Director of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery in the Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine (ranked the #1 department in the country by U.S. News and World Report), Byrne has made numerous humanitarian journeys abroad. Averaging two to three trips a year, he has traveled to Mexico, China, Vietnam, Ecuador and Africa to operate predominantly on indigent children and to conduct training sessions for native physicians.
Byrne credits his parents’ example for his strong commitment to serve, but his interest in humanitarian causes was definitely nurtured during his tenure at CLU. Byrne entered medical school at the University of California, San Diego intending to do primary care with underserved populations in the inner city. However, a gradual evolution took place, and by his third year of medical school, Byrne discovered that he really loved surgery.
It was while he was doing a fellowship in cleft work at Children’s Hospital of Minneapolis that a mentor inspired him to volunteer for overseas missions. Now the surgeon takes part in at least two humanitarian programs a year operating predominantly on indigent children with disfiguring acquired and congenital abnormalities.
Byrne is an assistant professor and fulltime faculty member at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, where he sits on the School of Medicine Admissions Committee. As an academician, he also actively conducts basic science research (his area of focus is in facial nerve regeneration and the treatment of facial paralysis), teaches and supervises residents, a fellow and rotating medical students. The Salinas, Calif., native does most of his volunteer work through the Ecuadent Foundation and the Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery’s Face to Face program. The emphasis of Face to Face is on physician education. While in Vietnam, for example, Byrne lectured to 217 surgeons.
The physician hopes his service will inspire others to perform humanitarian acts. “My folks and the gospel were a big influence on me,” he emphasizes. “There is no limitation to the things that you can do that are adventurous and exciting but, at the same time, do good in the world.”