In many regions of the world, clean water, electricity, medical facilities, and medical personnel are limited or nonexistent. Healthcare infrastructure is lacking and access to needed supplies can be highly variable. But what if you could have a state-of-the-art hospital and a whole crew of medical professionals delivered directly to the areas that most need it? This is where Mercy Ships comes in.


The ocean is a vast resource that covers 70% of the earth’s surface. It brings life to many through fishing and other important resources. For this reason, more than 40% of the world’s population live within 100 miles of a coast and 90% of the of the trade between countries happens via sea. Mercy Ships is able to harness the power of the ocean, and the close proximity of communities to the coast, to deliver high quality healthcare around the world. They also train local healthcare providers and seek to improve the medical infrastructure of the areas they visit. They even stock their ships with a supply of vehicles so they can reach remote areas!


Join us as we talk with Dr Chong about what it is like to be “stationed” on a medical ship, the concepts of universal citizenship and diagonal development, and how to be “a fibroblast vs a cancer cell”.  You won’t want to miss this episode!

Dr David Chong: Surgeon with Mercy Ships and Operation Smile and President of the Australasian Cleft Lip and Palate Association






“Global Healthcare Delivery, Mercy Ships, and Universal Citizenship”

David Chong is a plastic and reconstructive surgeon working at Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne, Australia. He specialises in facial differences in kids,  primarily congenital. He trained in Western Australia, then did his fellowships in Dallas, Texas for a year and, following that, for two years at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Canada. Dr Chong has been interested in global health since spending time on the Mercy Ships in 1996, where as a young doctor, he volunteered as non-medical personnel on the ship. 
David Chong currently volunteers 3 months a year (COVID withstanding) with Mercy Ships and Operation Smile. With Mercy Ships, he is part of a team that performs craniofacial surgery annually, before  returning later in the year to follow up the patients post surgery. Most of the work is done in West Africa. With Operation Smile, he has recently taken on a part-time paid position in Outcomes and Surgical Education. Dr Chong is also an associate director in the Global Surgery Fellowship associated with USC and Operation Smile, where  surgical residents are recruited to take a year or two out of their training to devote to global health issues. He has volunteered on over 30 missions, and is now primarily concerned with local capacity building. He is also the current president of the Australasian Cleft Lip and Palate Association.