To provide Comprehensive, Multi-disciplinary, and Long-term Treatment for Children affected by Cleft Lip and Palate Deformities.

Core Values

1.  Inspire others: we reach other professionals and inspire them to make a difference, using their talents in the most effective way. They share our passion and our discipline about how to make our vision come alive.

2.  Strategic partnership: with local professionals and non-profit organizations, hospitals and donors to maximize the reach of our organization's efforts.

3.  Deliver real value: we concentrate our efforts where the need is great and where we can make the most impact. We reach a small population at a time. We want to have a long term impact by providing all the follow up care necessary, so we go beyond the surgery.

About Alegría

Alegria was founded in 2013 by Colombian surgeons Alberto Prieto, Andres Herrera, Juan Luque, and scientist Ahalia Herrera.
Later on, Washington based surgeons Daria Hamrah, and Jamal Yousefi joined our cause. Here are their stories:




Scientific Director



While the visible work of Alegria is palpable in the smiling faces of the children we treat, Ahalia’s work is essential for the proper function of Alegria. From interactions with local governmental officials, to surgical suppliers, she is fundamental for the success of every mission delivered by Alegria. She was born and raised in Barrancabermeja, Santander, Colombia, a city that has been the center of Alegria’s work for the past five years, making her work as Alegria’s a lot closer to her heart.
Dr. Herrera holds the title of Microbiologist from the prestigious Javeriana University in Bogota, Colombia. Later in 2003, earned a PhD degree in Molecular Biology from Loyola University in Chicago. During her time at Loyola she worked extensively studying the molecular mechanisms of wound healing.
Mother of three beautiful girls, Ahalia takes her job at Alegria very close to her heart, and shares his husband's enthusiasm in helping the most vulnerable.
ALBERTO PRIETO, Scientific Director
The Alegria foundation is lucky to have Dr. Prieto as its clinical director, as he brings a clinical experience that expands almost for a quarter of a century, and the personal commitment with children and adults affected by craniofacial deformities.
Dr. Prieto is a graduate of the University of Santander, School of Dentistry, and residency training in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery from the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana in Bogota, Colombia.
Over the past 23 years of work, Dr. Prieto has performed over 2500 surgeries in patients with cleft lip and palate, and craniofacial deformities.
In 1992, Dr. Prieto co-founded a cleft and lip palate surgery program in Velez Santander, Colombia. During the eight years that this program was in place, 300 children benefited from a comprehensive treatment of their conditions.
In 1996, Dr. Prieto founded another program in the city of Socorro, Santander, providing care for 100 affected children in a 5 year period.
From 1997 to 2001, Dr. Prieto has been involved with the Cleft Lip and Palate team at Bucaramanga’s Institute of Health (ISABU), providing surgical treatment of 300 children. In addition, Dr. Prieto has been associated with the craniofacial team at the Carlos
Ardila Lulle’s Clinic, Hospital del Norte, San Luis Children’s Hospital and the Chicamocha Clinic, all in Bucaramanga, Santander from 1995 to the present date. In these institutions, Dr. Prieto has provided comprehensive, surgical care to more than 1000 patients.
Finally, Dr. Prieto has participated in multiple humanitarian missions with other foundations in La Mesa and Girardot, Cundinamarca-Colombia, El Banco, Magdalena-Colombia), Itagui, Antioquia-Colombia, and Puno-Peru.
Andres F. Herrera, DDS
Dr. Herrera is a Diplomat of the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, currently in private practice in California’s Monterey Peninsula.
Originally from Colombia, Dr. Herrera had the privilege to complete extensive oral and maxillofacial surgery training in Colombia and in the United States. He graduated as an oral surgeon from Loyola University Medical Center in 2003. Immediately after completing his residency training, Dr. Herrera was offered a position as Assistant Professor of the Department of Surgery at the same University. He moved to California in 2006 to start his private practice.
Dr. Herrera’s training both in Colombia and USA, allowed him to witness first hand, the limitations and difficulties faced by patients affected by cleft lip and palate in a developing country, but at the same time and through his involvement with the Craniofacial team at Loyola University, to see how a multi-disciplinary approach to these patients should be implemented.
His interest and involvement with the treatment of craniofacial deformities started while he was dental student when he was able to participate as a volunteer in several medical missions sponsored by the postgraduate Surgery program at his Dental School, Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, and with foundations such as Healing the Children. As an oral surgery resident in Colombia and later in the USA, Dr. Herrera volunteered in programs sponsored by Operation Smile and Interplast. In addition, he was actively involved with the Craniofacial Team at Loyola University.
Dr. Herrera’s turning point to create Alegria with the other founding partners was their 2013 participation on a mission to Puno, Peru, organized by Los Angeles based “Angeles of Charity and Music”. During this mission, Dr. Herrera and his partners realized that the physical change accomplished through one surgery on these patients is immense, but it is only the beginning for them, and more should be done.
Juan F. Luque, MD, DDS
Dr. Luque is a Board Certified Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon with a private practice in San Francisco, California.
Following over 10 years of training and work in Colombia, and USA, Dr. Luque founded The Bay Area Center for Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery (Current Faces of The Mission) in 2009, where he practices the full scope of oral and maxillofacial surgery. Dr. Luque is a staff member of the California Pacific Medical Center, and Kaiser Hospital in San Francisco.
Dr. Luque has a personal passion helping patients in need in different parts of the world, using the clinical skills and knowledge acquired during his medical and dental training. To date Dr. Luque has been actively involved as organizer or participant of more than 30 humanitarian missions to Brazil, Colombia, Jamaica, Peru and the Philippines. The work performed by Dr. Luque during these missions included surgical care of cleft palate and cleft lip, maxillofacial pathology, and craniofacial malformations.