| facebook | |

Masthead Image
Masthead Image

Philanthropy is a cornerstone of Dr. Pearson's practice.

Through participation in international humanitarian medical mission work, Dr. Pearson has helped to transform the lives of children born with facial malformations such as cleft lip, cleft palate, and ear deformities (microtia). By restoring facial form and function, children born with facial birth defects benefit not only from an improved appearance, but also from increased self confidence and social acceptance.

During nearly two dozen surgical missions to Asia, Central America and South America over the last decade, Dr. Pearson has treated hundreds of patients and has helped to educate and train local surgeons.

Our patients enable our humanitarian efforts through their support of our practice.


Pearson Philanthropy Dr. Pearson Philanthropy


Dr. Pearson is an active member of HUGS whose mission is to deliver medical care to children and adolescents challenged by a wide array of physical  conditions remedied through surgery. HUGS' mission is performed by providing remedial surgery on children in developing countries who have microtia, a congenital condition, facial burns and other health conditions.

HUGS was founded with the idea that every child has the fundamental right to a full and enriching childhood. Every girl and boy should experience play, follow his or her curiosity, feel secure, and know joy.

Since 2003, the HUGS foundation has sent hundreds of medical volunteers on over 40 surgical missions and conducted over 2000 surgical procedures on the children who need it most. Currently, HUGS coordinates annual surgical missions to Ecuador, Guatemala and Vietnam.

HUGS 2022 surgical Mission to Guatemala

A Mission to Change Lives Forever
Reporter Doug Emblidge from ABC affiliate WHAM in New York profiles HUGS' work. Guatemala, 2018.

What is Microtia ?

Microtia is a term referring to a malformed or poorly-developed external ear. While it is relatively uncommon, it appears to be more prevalent in Asia and Central and South America than in North America. Both genetic and environmental factors are thought to play a role in the development of the anomaly, though a specific genetic marker has not been found.

The HUGS organization has evolved into one of the most experienced and prolific groups in the world in terms of microtia operations performed.

How is Microtia Surgery Performed ?

  • Left: Ear prior to surgery
  • Center: Ear framework constructed from rib cartilage harvested from patient
  • Right: Ear appearance at the end of surgery. The framework is implanted in a skin pocket where the ear should be positioned

(Above) Slider of Microtia Before & After Result (Above) Slider of Cartilage Framework & After Result
(Above) Suction is applied to skin pocket, prompting the overlying skin to drape over the cartilage framework, thus revealing the contours of the fabricated ear.

Personal Impact

"May you receive this small detail of appreciation for your service and for sharing your knowledge of taking care of your patients. A thousand thanks! And may God bless you always. You have left a fingerprint in my heart. Knowing that we have amazing people given to generosity is a gift in this life. Thank you for everything.
To: James Pearson | From: Cesar R."

"Thank you so much to the surgeons that worked on microtia in the clinic. They were so kind, attentive and careful with the patients. Thank you to the surgeon, James Pearson. He was the one that did my first phase of the reconstruction of my right ear. I can say with all my heart everything came out excellent and I am so happy because now I have an ear."
HUGS patient, Guatemala, Sept 2023

Enduring Commitment

In 2023, HUGS celebrated 20 years of service and Dr. Pearson completed his 20th HUGS mission.

more HUGS in the Media

Hanoi, Vietnam, 2014. Reporter Jason Nguyen from ABC News traveled with HUGS to Vietnam to document HUGS' work.

Antigua, Guatemala, 2014. Watch a short video to see how we Help Give Smiles to children around the world.

Photos from Antigua, Guatemala - 2014 HUGS mission

For more information, or for other ways to donate to this organization, speak to any of our staff or visit helpusgivesmiles.org.

Dr. Pearson Philanthropy

American Academy of
Facial Plastic Surgery

American Board of Facial Plastic
& Reconstructive Surgery
American College of Surgeons
Dr. Pearson Castle Connolly Top Doctor
Castle Connolly

Dr. Pearson sees patients from around the world including the following Southern California locations: Beverly Hills, Brentwood, Burbank, Culver City, El Segundo, Glendale, Hawthorne, Hermosa Beach, Hollywood, Huntington Beach, Laguna Beach, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Malibu, Manhattan Beach, Marina del Rey, Newport Beach, Orange County, Pacific Palisades, Palos Verdes, Playa del Rey, Playa Vista, Rancho Palos Verdes, Redondo Beach, Rolling Hills, Rolling Hills Estates, San Pedro, Santa Monica, Seal Beach, South Bay, Torrance, Venice, Ventura, Westchester, West Hollywood, Woodland Hills