JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Dr. Samira Meymand sees beauty and possibility where others see the scars of war. She’s trained in oral and maxillofacial surgery. As a member of the United States Navy, Meymand performs life changing facial reconstruction surgery. Her aim is to restore lives and self-esteem. And Meymand is doing that not just for military members but also for some of the most vulnerable members of her community.
She served as an active duty officer in the Navy for 11 years.
"I did a residency in that (maxillofacial surgery) in Bethesda during the height of the war," said Meymand. "When Iraq and Afghanistan were at the height. It was very humbling to see those soldiers come back with many traumatic injuries to their bodies and their face, and we had to put those back together."
It's a difficult job that takes skill, precision and heart.
"It was an amazing experience just to be able to comfort their families going through that and I decided at that point that I wanted to continue that kind of work," Meymand said.
She’s traveled the globe, restoring smiles to the underprivileged. Including babies and children born with cleft lip and palate, defects that could destroy their self-esteem. In Jacksonville with Give Kids a Smile, Meymand provides dental services many families can’t afford. She’s helping to change their worlds with something as simple as a gracious grin.
"It just improves their quality of life," said Meymand, "and that's what's important to me, trying to improve people's quality of life."
Meymand also works in a mobile dental unit at local churches with Mission of Mercy. She continues to serve the United States Navy in a reserve status.