Grace Children’s Foundation
Chief of Plastic Surgery, St. Joseph’s University Medical Center
Director of Residency Program in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
A native of Sardegna, a beautiful Italian island, Dr. Podda came to the United States in 1990 after graduating in Medicina e Chirurgia at the Universita’ di Cagliari and completing a fellowship in Pediatrics and Genetics in Italy.
He was awarded a scholarship by the Italian Government to study gene therapy and its therapeutic implications at Columbia University in New York City. A long surgical odyssey began thereafter with general surgery residency at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital in NYC, fellowships at Children’s Hospital in Boston and Westchester Medical Center; a residency in Plastic Surgery at New York University and ultimately a fellowship in craniofacial surgery at Miami’s Children’s Hospital.
He is currently the Chief of the Division of Plastic Surgery at St. Joseph’s University Medical Center, the plastic surgery director of the Regional Craniofacial Center and the director of the Plastic Surgery Residency Program, now ACGME certified, which he started years ago.
However, his most sacred ‘title’ is Medical Missionary. Dr. Podda is most proud of the more than 30 medical missions he’s made across the globe to Haiti, India, Philippines, Syria and several countries throughout Africa, including Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia and Ethiopia. He has treated more than one thousand patients, mostly children suffering from cleft lip, cleft palate and other craniofacial deformities. He also continues to be very active in the world of international academic plastic surgery.
In 2021 he received the Premio Navicella Sardegna, awarded to a Sardinian that has contributed to bring accolades and respect to the island of Sardinia around the world. He was recently awarded the New Jersey Physician of The Year Award for 2022 for his passion, dedication and commitment to the care of children with congenital deformities around the world.
His involvement with The Grace for Children’s Foundation comes as the culmination of a professional career dedicated to access to surgical care for children around the world. Being a part of the innovative concept of the Children’s Resource Exchange, a single portal that will help save lives of children worldwide, is a challenge that Dr. Podda has embraced wholeheartedly.